The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Friday 19 July 2024
GATHERINGS:
An informed guide to happenings throughout
the region.  

Thai senate seeks
referendum on new constitution: Lese Majeste law

From News Reports:
Bangkok, February 12: The Senate is seeking a referendum on the drafting of a new constitution as dictated by the Referendum Act after the House of Representatives voted for an opposition-sponsored motion on November 3, 2022 to seek a referendum, reports the Bangkok Post.
Senators voted 151 for, 26 against, and 15 abstentions to form a panel to study a motion to organise a referendum that would pave the way for a rewrite of the constitution that includes the Lese Majeste law.
The Senate called on the government to hold a referendum on whether a new constitution should be drawn up by a charter drafting assembly made up of elected representatives, saying "the referendum should be arranged on the same day as the next general election that has tentatively been set for May 7 by the Election Commission (EC).
Senators were critical of voting for the formation of a panel to study a motion to organise a referendum, saying "It is a tactic to stall the referendum"
Sen Kittisak Rattanawaraha said he supported a referendum on the drafting of a new constitution, saying he disagreed with organising the referendum on the same day as the general election,
"This could confuse voters," he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

China calls emergency COVID-19 meeting with ASEAN in Laos
From News Reports:
Beijing, February 19: An emergency meeting of foreign ministers from China and the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) that was proposed by China is to be held in Vientiane, Laos on Thursday and Friday to discuss the COVID-19 virus epidemic.
The COVID-19 virus has so far killed 1,869 and infected 73,336 in China and has spread to the 10 ASEAN member states.
The meeting that was proposed by China is reportedly intended to share information and to improve coordination between China and the 10 ASEAN member states in order to combat the COVID-19 virus.
China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi is reportedly to discuss China's measures in countering the COVID-19 virus epidemic at the meeting in Laos, with focus on strengthening joint prevention and control measures against the virus.
The meeting is also to explore the idea of establishing a long term and effective collaboration mechanism on public health to safeguard the region, with China Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang saying " China and Asean countries have been in close communication since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
Cambodia's Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn, who will be attending the emergency COVID-19 virus epidemic meeting, said that the meeting will be an opportunity for the foreign ministers to discuss measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
"The meeting will help strengthen cooperation between ASEAN member states in the midst of this global health threat," he said.
His said that Cambodia's participation in the emergency meeting that was proposed by China will demonstrate Cambodia’s support of China and confidence in the measures taken by the China government to address the coronavirus outbreak.
The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnam opens consulate in Macau

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

US invites Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary to the White House

From News Reports:

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

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


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

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

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

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


Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times


Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times


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Philippines Senate Sergeant at Arms deployed to arrest suspended Bamban Mayor for refusal to appear before Senate Committee hearing

An arrest warrant was issued for suspended Mayor, Alice Guo, centre, of Bamban in Tarlac Province, five family members and two officials, by the Senate Committee hearing on Thursday July 11, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, July 19: Philippine Senate Committee orders the Philippines Office Senate Sergeant at Arms (OSAA) to execute arrest warrants for Mayor, Alice Guo, who was suspended as Mayor of Bamban in Tarlac Province, after accusations that the Mayor was a Chinese Spy, and for two mayor officials and five family members, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The arrest warrant was issued by the Senate Committee hearing into crimes related to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), with Senator Risa Hontiveros saying ''suspended Mayor, Alice Guo has refused to appear before the Senate.''
Senator Risa Hontiveros, as chair of Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, is conducting an inquiry into alleged human trafficking, cyber fraud and other crimes related to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), ordered the arrest of suspended Mayor, Alice Guo, five family members and two officials, for their refusal to appear before the Senate Committee hearing.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said that suspended Mayor, Alice Guo, her relatives and two officials refuse to appear before the Senate Committee hearing despite due notices issued, saying ''an order for the arrests was approved by Senate President, Francis Escudero, on July 11.
Office of the Philippines’ Senate Sergeant at Arms (OSAA) retired Philippine Army Lt. Gen. Roberto Ancan, was ordered to arrest and detain suspended Mayor Alice Guo, Sheila Leal Guo, Wesley Leal Guo, Jian Zhong Guo, Seimen Guo, Wen Yi Lin, Dennis Cunanan, and Nancy Gamo for contempt for failing to appear at the Senate Committee hearing.
Arrest Warrants were ordered for suspended Mayor Alice Guo, five family members and two officials, ''for unduly refusing to appear, despite due notices'' at the Senate committee hearing on reports on human trafficking, torture, serious illegal detention and other serious crimes committed at Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) hubs.
Suspended Mayor Alice Guo, is allegedly linked to two illegal Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) hubs including a hub in Bamban in Tarlac Province that was raided by the Philippine National Police on
March 13.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said then that 295 foreign workers were found at the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) premises in Bamban, Tarlac in the Philippine National Police raid on March 13, saying that the illegal POGO hub in Bamban had offices outfitted with computor workstations with instructional guides and scripts used to conduct love scams and crypto schemes, rows of iPhones and Android smartphones hung on metal racks at the illegal pogo hub, saying ''numerous SIM cards, presumably used to execute fraudulent transactions were also found.''
Senator Risa Hontiveros said that human trafficking is part of the illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos)
business model, saying ''the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) continues to be exploited.''
The Southeast Asian Times


Six Vietnamese including two with
US citizenship found dead in five star Bangkok
hotel

Six Vietnamese nationals, two with American citizenship, were found dead of suspected poisoning in a hotel room at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel on Ratchadamri Rd, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok on Tuesday July 16, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 18: Six Vietnamese nationals, including two with US citizenship, were found dead of suspected poisoning in a hotel room at the five star Grand Hyatt Era
wan Hotel in Bangkok, with the Royal Thai Police (RTP) saying ''the six Vietnamese nationals were victims of murder, not suicide,'' reports the Bangkok Post.
Royal Thai Police (RTP) Bangkok police chief Gen Thiti Sangsawang said the six found dead in a hotel room at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel were identified as four Vietnamese nationals and two Vietnam nationals with American citizenship.
Bangkok police chief Gen Thiti Sangsawang said the bodies of the six dead, three males and three females, were found with foam at the mouth, saying ''there were no signs of a struggle.''
The six victims include Vietnam national and US citizen, Chong Sherine, 56, Vietnam national and US citizen, Dang Hung Van, 55, Vietnam national, Nguyen Thi Phuong Lan, 47, Vietnam National, Pham Hong Thanh, 49, Vietnam National, Tran Dinh Phu, 37, Vietnam national, Nguyen Thi Phuong, 46.
''Four died at a dining table and two others in the bedroom,'' he said.
He said the bodies were discovered by a maid who went to the room after the guests failed to check out and found the door locked from the inside.
'The bodies have been taken to the Chulalongkorn Hospital for an autopsy,'' he said.
He said the victims had booked rooms at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel in seven names, saying ''police are looking for the seventh person included in the hotel booking.
''Food that had been ordered earlier from room service had been left uneaten, but the dirinks had been consumed,'' he said.
Bangkok police chief Gen Thiti Sangsawang said the deaths occurred about 24 hours before police arrived at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel on Tuesday evening after being called by the hotel.
He said that forensic teams have collected various items from the hotel room including food containers,utensils, and other potential evidence, for further examination.
''The investigation is still ongoing, with a focus on identifying the motive behind the killings and the whereabouts of the seventh individual who was registered as a guest in the hotel,'' he said.
Bangkok police chief Gen Thiti Sangsawang said police are reviewing CCTV footage taken from the victims arrival at the airport and in the vicinity of the hotel to gather more information.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Thailand has dispatched officials to the Grand Hyatt Erawan Hotel crime scene to work with Thailand authorities to gather information, identify the victims, and provide consular assistance to their families.
Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin inspected the crime scene holding a press conference at the Grand Hyatt Erawan, saying ''the incident was neither a robbery nor a random assault and that it should not affect Thailand's lucrative tourism industry.''
''Pending the results of autopsies, our hypothesis is that they ingested something that killed them,'' he said.
U.S State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, said U.S officials are aware of the reports of the deaths of the two U.S. citizens in Bangkok
“We offer our sincere condolences to the families on their loss. We are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to provide consular assistance to those families,” he told reporters in Washington.

The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission sentences former minister of Agriculture to prison

Former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, 69, centre, was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Jakarta Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) court in Jakarta on Thursday July 11, 2024

From News Reports;
Jakarta, July 17: The Jakarta Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) court, sentenced former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, 69, to 10 years in prison on Thursday for extortion, abuse of power, bribery and benefiting from fraudulent ministry projects contracted to private vendors, with the KPK presiding judge, saying ''the defendant has been proven guilty of committing the crime of corruption,'' reports Reuters.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) presiding judge, Rianto Adam Pontohsaying, said that former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, had extorted more that 44 billion rupiah (U.S. $2.75 million) between 2020 and 2023, saying ''the former Minister of Agriculture extorted the money through two of his subordinates.''
He said he sentenced Ministry of Agriculture secretary general, Kasdi Subagyono and the Agricultural Equipment and Machinery directorate Muhammad Hatta to four years in prison each.
Former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, was arrested on October 12, 2023 with lawyer, Febri Diansyah, saying then that his client does not deny the allegations and would coordinate with Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman, Johanis Tanak, said after the arrest of former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, that ''Syahrul Yasin Limpo allegedly instructed his two subordinates to force officials at his ministry to pay him between $4,000 and $10,000 in exchange for promotions or participation in the procurement of fraudulent projects at the ministry."
''The former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, received bribes from private vendors who were granted fraudulent projects with the Ministry of Agriculture," he said.
In October 2023 Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators searched the official residence of former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo finding firearms and banknotes worth about 30 billion rupiah ($1.9 million) in several currencies.
On November 22, 2023 then chairman of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Firli Bahuri, was accused of bribing former Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo, with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Supervisory Council, saying "the Supervisory Council held sufficient evidence to order Firli Bahuri to appear before an KPK ethical hearing.
"We have probed at least 33 witnesses including the KPK chairman, Firli Bahuri, internal and external witnesses, and expert witnesses," he said.
On December 28, 2023, then President Joko Widodo signed Presidential Decree Number 129/P of 2023 for the Dismissal of Firli Bahuri as Chair and Member of the Corruption Eradication Committee for the 2019-2024 term of office.
Former Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) chairman, Firli Bahuri, awaits trial on extortion charges
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Assassination attempt of former US President Trump ahead of Republic selection of presidential nominee

Former United State President, Donald Trump, after assassination attempt at a rally in Butler in Pennsylvania on Saturday July 13, 2024

From News Reports:
Washington July 16: The United States University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML) Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies Arie Perliger, said after the assassination attempt of former United State President Donald Trump at a rally in Butler, Pennsylvania on Saturday, a day ahead of the Republic Party selection of the presidential nominee at the 2024 Republican National three day Convention, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, said ''The first thing that I thought about is that we were basically one inch from a potential civil war,'' reports Reuters.
Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies, Arie Perliger, said ''The first thing that I thought about is that we were basically one inch from a potential civil war,'' in reply to a question asked by The Conversation politics editor, Naomi Schalit, ''When you heard the news, what was the first thing you thought?''
University of Massachusetts, Lowell (UML) Professor of Criminology and Justice Studies Arie Perliger, said ''given the stark political polarization in the US it’s not a surprise that eventually people engage in violence.''
Professor Arie Perliger said after the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump on Saturday, '' I think that if, indeed, Donald Trump would have suffered fatal injuries today, the level of violence that we witnessed so far will be nothing in comparison to what would have happened in the next couple of months.''
'' I think that would have unleashed a new level of anger, frustration, resentment, hostility that we haven’t seen for many, many years in the US,'' he said.
The Conversation politics editor, Naomi Schalit, also asked, ''Political assassination attempts don’t aim only to kill someone. They have a larger goal, don’t they?''
Professor Arie Perliger, said ''In many ways, assassination attempts bypass the long process of trying to downgrade and defeat political opponents, when there is a sense that even a long political struggle will not be sufficient.''
He said that many perpetrators see assassinations as a tool that will allow them to achieve their political objectives in a very quick, very effective way that doesn’t demand a lot of resources or a lot of organization.
''If we are trying to connect it to what we’ve seen today, I think that many people see Trump as a unicorn, as a unique entity, who in many ways really consumed the entire conservative movement.'' he said.
''So by removing him, there’s a sense that that will or may solve the problem,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Papua students call on President Widodo to withdraw Indonesian military from Puncak regency

The Puncak High School and University Student Community (KMPP) claimed on Wednesday July 10, 2024 that violence has increased in Puncak Regency since the placement of Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri)

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July15: Papua students have called on Indonesia President Joko Widodo to withdraw Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri) from Puncak regency, Central Papua Province, saying ''the presence of Indonesia's military has triggered an increase in violence against civilians,'' reports Indoleft.
Puncak High School and University Student Community (KMPP) General Secretary, Urnius Matuwan, claims that discrimination, intimidation and violence have increased since the placement of Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri) TNI in Puncak regency, saying ''we reject the military placement in the district.''
"We urge President Joko Widodo to immediately withdraw Indonesian military forces that control civilian areas in Sinak, Oneri and Agandugume,'' he said at the Sinak student dormitory in Jayapura City on Wesdnesday.
He said that violence by the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri) TNI against Puncak regency communities has increased since the placement of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri) TNI in Puncak regency.
''The increase in violence is also the result of the flow of internally displaced people from Sinak, Yugumuak, Mageabume Oneri and Agandugume to Wamena in Jayawijaya,'' he said.
He said that the Puncak Regional House of Representatives (DPRK) has not paid serious attention to the condition of the Puncak people, saying Puncak people are traumatised by the presence of the Indonesian military.''
'' It is as if acting Puncak Regional House of Representatives (DPRK), Darwin Tobing, has closed his eyes to the presence of TNI military in Puncak," he said.
He said that the Puncak regency Regional House of Representatives (DPRK) ''does not seem to care about the fate of residents who are increasingly curtailed by the placement of Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri) TNI in Puncak regency.
He said that Puncak High School and University Student Community (KMPP) records show that violence escalated in Puncak regency saying ''women and children were often targets''
He said that Makilon Tabuni, 12, was shot dead by the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police of Indonesia (Polri) TNI in February 2022 and Tarina Murib was murdered and mutilated in March 2023,
''In May 2023 Sinak, school principal, Panius Tabuni, was shot dead and in February 2024 Warinus Murib and two of his friends were tortured',' he said.
In December 2019 about 6,000 joint Indonesian Military (TNI) and National Police personnel were deployed to secure Papua and West Papua provinces including Jayapura, Nabire, Paniai, Deiyai, Manokwari, Fakfak, Puncak and Sorong following mass protests in August and September 2019 calling on Indonesia for a referendum for independence for Papua and West Papua that had spread to almost all regions.
Calls for a referendum and self determination were dismissed in August 2019 by Indonesia's former Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Wiranto, who said then that the “NKRI the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia is final, ” he said.
He said the New York Agreement, signed in 1962 by the Netherlands and Indonesia, had officially made Papua and West Papua legitimate territories of Indonesia.
“That means NKRI is final, NKRI is non-negotiable, including Papua and West Papua,” he said.
"Referendums are for occupied countries that are given the choice to be independent or to join with the occupying country", he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Bhumjaithai Party MP suspended from parliament for vote-buying in Thailand 2023 elections

Bhumjaithai Member of Parliament for Nakhon Si Thammarat, Mukdawan Luengsinil, accused of vote-buying in Thailand general elections Sunday May 14, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 14: The pro-monarchy Bhumjaithai Party Member of Parliament for Nakhon Si Thammarat, Mukdawan Leungsinil, was suspended from Parliament after the Supreme Court accepted vote-buyer finding by the Election Commission, with the House Speaker saying ''Member of Parliament, Mukdawan Leungsinil, is suspended until court proceedings are finalised,'' reports the Bangkok Post.
House Speaker. Wan Muhammad Noor Matha, announced the suspension of Bhumjaithai Party Member of Parliament, Mukdawan Leungsinil, on Thursday before the weekly House meeting, saying ''the Supreme Court accepted the vote-buying findings by the Election Commission on 5 July.''
The Election Commission in Nakhon Si Thammarat ruled to disqualify the Bhumjaithai Member of Parliament, Mukdawan Leungsinil, in December after the Member of Parliament was accused of offering money in exchange for votes and to attend election campaign rallies for the Bhumjaithai Party in 2023.
In March, the Election Commission filed a case with the Supreme Court, petitioning the court to revoke the right of the Bhumjaithai Member of Parliament for Nakhon Si Thammarat, Mukdawan Leungsinil to contest elections and to order a new election in Constituency 8, with expenses to be met by the candidate.
On January 19, 2024 Lawyer Patrapong Supaksorn petitioned the Constitutional Court to dissolve the Bhumjaithai Party led by defacto secretary-general Newin Chidchob, who is brother of former secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party.
Former secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party, former Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob, resigned as Bhumjaithai secretary-general and a member of parliament after accusations of conspiring to illegally gain billions of baht.
Lawyer Patrapong Supaksorn accused Bhumjaithai Party, Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob, of conspiring to illegally gain billions of baht via the Buri Charoen Construction Ltd.
Lawyer Patrapong Supaksorn said the Buri Charoen Construction Ltd. won government construction contracts, saying ''former secretary-general of the Bhumjaithai Party, former Minister of Transport, Saksayam Chidchob, allegedly handed some of the illegally gained funds to Bhumjaithai Party members of parliament during last year’s electoral campaigns."
In August 2023 Thailand's pro-monarchy Bhumjaithai party that won 71 seats in the May 2023 elections and the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) won 141 seats formed a new coalition party that excluded the Move Forward Party (MFP) that won Thailand's elections with 151 seats, with the then Pheu Thai Party (PTP) leader, Cholnan Srikaew, saying parties in the coalition would not support a coalition government if it included the Move Forward Part (MFP).
"The Bhumjaithai party and the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) combine 212 seats of the 500 seats in parliament will be the basis for the formation of government," he said.
The Pheu Thai Party (PTP) withdrew from the Move Forward Party (MFP) eight-party coalition on August 2, 2023 with Pheu Thai Party (PTP) prime ministerial candidate, Srettha Thavisin, saying then that he would not seek to abolish or amend the lese majeste law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code if the parliament approves his nomination as prime minister.
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines demand compensation from China for damages in confrontation in disputed South China Sea

Philippine Marines fly the Philippine flag on the grounded WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) to maintain the Philippine territorial claim of the Second Thomas Shoal on the Philippines 116th Independence Day, Thursday June 12, 2014

From News Reports:
Manila, July 13: The Armed Forces of the Philippines demand that China pay 60 million pesos (US$1 million) for damages incurred last month in a confrontation between the Philippine Navy and the China Coast Guard at the grounded WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) in the second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea , with Gen. Romeo Brawner saying ''China destroyed our equipment and a sailor was injured in the standoff,'' reports Reuters.
''I demand the return of seven firearms that were taken by the Chinese coast guard,'' he said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claim that during the confrontation in the contested South China Sea one of its vessels was forcibly towed, looted and damaged, and that China Coast Guards used machetes, blades and pikes to threaten sailors and damage equipment.
''The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) estimates the cost of the damage at 60 million pesos (US$1 million),'' he said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Gen. Romeo Brawner demanded compensation for damages from China after a conference between Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on security challenges and threats facing the Philippines.
Gen. Romeo Brawner said that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. renewed an order for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to de-escalate tensions in the disputed South China Sea waters, saying ''the military would continue to comply.''
''However, the rotation of the military and resupply missions to the grounded WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) in the second Thomas Shoal would continue,'' he said.
The confrontation between the Filipino Navy and the Chinese Coast Guard at the second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea began on June 17, two days after the enforcement of new regulations authorising the Chinese Coast Guard to intercept and detain foreign vessels and crews allegedly trespassing in the South China Sea.
The new regulation that became effective on June 15, allows the China coast guards to detain alleged tresspassers for 60 days and use force against foreign ships in waters claimed by China in the disputed South China Sea that includes areas claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lin Jian accused the Philippines navy of attempting to transport firearms and construction materials to refurbish the WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) grounded by the Philippines at the Thomas Shoal in the late 1990s to mark a territorial claim.
In July 2016 the Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea that included the West Philippine Sea.
China reportedly claimed that the Arbitration tribunal made an illegal and invalid final verdict on the South China Sea dispute with China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang saying then that the dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The China Foreign Ministry spokesman said then that "China's position of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippines remains unchanged".
The Southeast Asian Times


Police warn former Philippines President Duterte of aiding and abetting fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy

Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) Pastor, Apollo Quiboloy, left, celebrates his birthday with former Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, right, in Davao City Mindanao Tuesday April 25, 2023

From News Reports:
Manila, July 12: Police have offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of the founder of Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) fugitive Pastor, Apollo Quiboloy who faces child sexual abuse and human trafficking charges in Davao City, Mindanao in Southern Philippines with, Philippine Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr saying ''Police are looking at whether former President Rodrigo Duterte and former mayor of Davao City could be charged with aiding and abetting fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippine Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. and National Police chief Gen. Rommel Marbil offered a reward of 10 million peso (U.S. $170,760) for the arrest of fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy at a press conference in Quezon City, Metro Manila, on Monday, saying ''anyone helping Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) fugitive Pastor, Apollo Quiboloy hide from authorities could be charged with obstruction of justice under Philippine law,''
''Police are looking at whether former President and former Mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo Duterte, could be charged with aiding and abetting Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) fugitive televangelist, Apollo Quiboloy after the former President publicly said last month that he knew where fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy's was hiding but would not disclose the location,'' said National Police chief Gen. Rommel Marbil.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte has reportedly publicly admitted to receiving property and luxurious cars from fugitive televangelist, Apollo Quiboloy while he was mayor of Davao City in Mindanao, southern Philippines.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte accused President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of persecuting fugitive Pastor, Apollo Quiboloy, saying ''the raids on properties in Davao City, are an overkill.''
Philippine National Police Special Action Force have raided Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) headquarters on Diversion Road, in Davao City properties at Prayer Mountain, Glory Mountain in Barangay Tamayong, Davao City, the Sands Resport at the Island Garden City of Samal in Mindanao but failed to arrest fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) fugitive Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, named former President Rodrigo Duterte as the administrator of the properties, as he went into hiding to evade arrest on allegations of sexual assault in the United States.
In November 2021 Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) fugitive televangelist, Apollo Quiboloy, was charged for allegedly orchestrating a sex-trafficking operation, with the United States prosecutors saying ''Apollo Quiboloy coerced girls as young as 12 to have sex with him or risk eternal damnation.''
''Televangelist, Apollo Quibolo, allegedly recruited girls and young women ranging from 12 to 25 years olds, to work as personal assistants or pastorals at the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC) branch in California,'' said the United States prosecutors.

The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysia rejects Philippine submission to United Nations to extend continental shelf over Sabah waters

Malaysia Foreign Minister, Mohamad Hasan, said Malaysia is prepared to contest the Philippine claim over territory in Sabah waters at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur July 11: Malaysia has rejected the Philippine submission to the United Nations to extend the continental shelf
over territory in Sabah waters, with Malaysia Foreign Minister, Mohamad Hasan, saying ''Malaysia submitted a diplomatic note to the United Nation in response to the Philippines submission to the United Nations to extend the continental shelf in the West Phillippine Sea, reports the Star.
Malaysia Foreign Minister, Mohamad Hasan, said that the Philippines is claiming that its maritime border runs through Sabah
saying ''if this claim is used as a yardstick then the Philippines is claiming that Sabah belongs to them.''
He said that Sabah and Sarawak became a part of the Malaysian Federation decades ago, saying ''all leaders then agreed to the formation of the federation.''
''The formation of the Malaysian Federation was done in a proper manner and was recognised by the United Nations,'' he said.
He said that Malaysia is an independent and sovereign nation, saying ''no one can just come and stake a claim on any of our territories.''
Malaysia Foreign Minister, Mohamad Hasan, said Malaysia is prepared for the territorial claim by the Philippines to be decided at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
On June 15 the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs, Marshall Louis M. Alferez, made an official submission to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) for entitlement to extend the continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea, saying then ''today we secure our future by making a manifestation of our exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources in the West Philippine Sea.''
He said the Philippines is entitled to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf under Article 76 of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), saying ''a coastal State like the Philippines is entitled to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf that includes the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas extending beyond 200 nautical miles but not to exceeding 350 nautical miles from the baseline.''
''The Philippine submission does not prejudice discussions with relevant coastal states that may have legitimate extension of the continental shelf claims measured from their respective lawful baselines under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the SeaUNCLOS,'' he said.
He said that the Philippines considers the Philippine submission to the United Nations as a step in discussing delimitation matters and other forms of cooperation moving forward, saying ''what is important is the Philippines puts on record the maximum extent of the Philippines entitlement.''
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines calls for investigation into contracts to China for reclamation of Manila Bay

Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party-list Representative, Erwin Teshiba Tulfo, calls for an investigation into approval of 24 reclamation projects in Manila Bay to China Dredging Corp., and Construction Communication Corp., (CCC) on Monday July 8, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, July 10: The Philippines House of Representatives called for an investigation into the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) approval of 24 reclamation projects in Manila Bay to China Dredging Corp., and Construction Communication Corp., (CCC) after nine Chinese nationals were arrested on Monday for illegally working on dredging vessels, with Anti-Crime and Terrorism Community Involvement and Support (ACT-CIS) party-list Representative, Erwin Teshiba Tulfo , saying he had called for an investigation into contracts issued by local government units (LGUs) to China Dredging Corp., and Construction Communication Corp., (CCC) for reclaiming projects in Manila Bay a year ago, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
ACT-CIS party-list Representative, Erwin Teshiba Tulfo called for an investigate into the Manila Bay reclamation projects amid reports of the proliferation of illegal Chinese immigrants in the Philippines,'' saying ''we really need to focus on the security of the Philippies because these Chinese nationals are roaming around the country.''
''The question now is what is the reason for the Chinese nationals moving around Metro Manila when they don't have visas,'' he said.
ACT-CIS party-list Representative, Erwin Teshiba Tulfo said that House Resolution No. 1171 was submitted to the House of Representatives committees on national defence and security, ecology and other appropriate panels to investigate the Manila Bay reclamation projects in August, 2023.
''Back then Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez had received reports that Chinese workers on dredging vessels in Manila Bay had been leaving their vessels and had joined parties at nightclubs despite the absence of a working visa,'' he said.
He said that the China owned China Dredging Corp., and Construction Communication Corp., (CCC) is in charge of the dredging reclamation operations in Manila Bay, saying ''the same company is responsible for the construction of air and naval bases at Philippines-claimed territories in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).''
''The dredging operations may be a national security threat if the workers on dredging vessels are members of the Chinese military,'' he said.
In August 2023 the Department of Public Works and Highways secretary, Manuel Bonoan, said at a Senate hearing that his department was not involved in the approval of the 22 reclamation projects by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) that had been issued by local government units (LGUs)."
He said that all bodies of water inluding Manila Bay are patrimonial assets owned by the state, saying "that's why I don't understand why the local government units (LGUs) were authorised to grant the contracts."
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said all 22 reclamation projects were suspended following the presidential order on Monday August 7, 2024.
''The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has not issued the required Area Clearance and the Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) for the 22 reclamation projects,'' she said.
"Under Executive Order 74, no reclamation project shall be approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) without the required Area Clearance and Environmental Compliance Certificates (ECCs) to be issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Joshua Wong guilty plea a mitigating factor in conspiracy to commit subversion in Hong Kong elections

Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong, 19, detained at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport after arriving from Hong Kong to speak on the "Occupy Central With Love and Peace" movement on Wednesday October 5, 2016

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, July 9: Jailed former student activist, Joshua Wong, 27, is one of six defendants of 47 pro-democracy defendants, who appeared at the West Kowloon Law Court in Hong Kong on Friday for mitigating hearings for conspiracy to commit subversion in the Hong Kong District Council elections in 2020, with lawyer, Marco Li, saying ''Joshua Wong's guilty plea was a mitigating factor,'' reports Reuters.
''The fact that Joshua Wong had pleaded guilty earlier was the most significant mitigating factor in his favour,'' he said.
Lawyer, Marco Li, said his client was not involved in the organisation of the Hong Kong District Council elections in 2020 that attempted to exclude candidates selected by Beijing.
He said that his client was considered an active participant, saying ''an active participant referred to the second of three categories that determine a jail term under the new law passed in Beijing on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).''
He said the law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) stipulates three categories of offenders with principal offenders facing up to life in prison.''
''An active participant could be sentenced up to 10 years in jail and other participants up to three years in jail,''
Joshua Wong is one of 47 pro-democracy supporters in a campaign that attempted to win a majority of votes in Hong Kong’s 70-seat Legislative Council in the 2020 elections, with accusations from Hong Kong Secretary for Security, John Lee Ka-chiu, that the pro-democracy supporters attempted to block Beijing's selected candidates.
On October 5, 2016 Joshua Wong who was involved in the "Occupy Central With Love and Peace" movement that began in Hong Kong in 2014 and later founded the pro-democracy political party, Demosisto, was detained on arrival at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport.
Joshua Wong was detained by Thai tourist police and returned to Hong Kong the day before he was to give a speech at the faculty of political science at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok on his experience of the 74 day Hong Kong street protest.
Joshua Wong, was one of thousands of students who supported the student-led protest in central Hong Kong, opposing the 2017 elections that would allow Beijing to nominate candidates for Chief Executive.
Beijing ruled in August 2014 that Hong Kong could use the "one man one vote" system to elect the Chief Executive in 2017 but from only two or three candidates that would be elected by a nominating committee from Beijing.
The Hong Kong students called on Beijing to give Hong Kong direct elections and also for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who was elected by committee in Beijing.
The Pro-democracy umbrella movement was founded in Hong Kong in 2014 in response to the National People's Congress ruling in Beijing in August 2014 that Hong Kong would use the "one man one vote" system to elect the Chief Executive of Hong Kong but from only two or three candidates that would be selected by a nominating committee in Beijing.
Pro-democracy umbrella movement protesters said that China had reneged on its promise to maintain Hong Kong autonomy under its ''one country, two systems'' that was agreed when British colonial rule ended in 1997.
The Southeast Asian Times


United Nations Human Rights Council approves China's Universal Periodic Review on Human Rights

Ambassador Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at the 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday July 4, 2024

From News Reports:
Geneva, July 8: The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) unanimously approved China's 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday with Ambassador Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of China, saying ''more than 120 of the 193 United Nations member states praised China for China's progress in the development of human rights and fully affirmed China's unremitting efforts in promoting and protecting human rights,'' reports Rueters.
Gambia, Indonesia and Estonial were among 193 United Nations member states at China's 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session that assessed China's efforts and achievements in the development of human rights, with Gambia recommending that ''China reinforce the safeguarding of ethnic and religious minorities right by promoting the preservation of cultural identities.''
Indonesia recommended that China ''strengthen protection of freedom of religion or belief,'' and Estonia recommendation that China ''enable all members of civil society to freely engage with international human rights mechanisms without fear of intimidation or reprisals.''
More than 120 of the 193 United Nations member states praised China's acceptance of the majority of the recommendations at the 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Thursday with United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) president, Omar Zniber, saying that China had accepted almost 70 percent of the 428 Human Rights reform recommendations from the 193 United Nations member states.
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), United States representative, Michele Taylor, said on Thursday that "ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs remain in effect.''
''China has refused to take action amid consistent calls from the international community to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and has rejected numerous constructive recommendations," he said.
"China's abuses constitute a rejection of U.N. assessments and recommendations and violate or undermine international commitments," he said.
The British representative, United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Simon Manley, said that China has rejected all of the U.K.'s recommendations.
"In doing so, the Chinese government has failed to acknowledge its serious human rights violations, and again tried to claim that the United Nations authoritative Xinjiang assessment is 'illegal and void.'
''It is neither," he said.
China Ambassador, Chen Xu, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, said at the 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on Thursday that ''China firmly opposes the politicalization, instrumentalization, and weaponization of human rights issues.''
''China firmly opposes using human rights issues as an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs,'' he said.
Ambassador Chen Xu said that China will continue to resolutely follow its own path of human rights development, saying 'China will promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese modernization.''
The Southeast Asian Times

Former Philippines President Duterte and Senator Bong Go accused of graft and plunder in Mindanao projects

Former Senate Antonio Trillanes IV files a criminal complaint against former President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Bong Go for graft and plunder at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila on Friday July 5, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, July 7: Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed criminal complaints against former President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Christopher Bong Go, who served as special assistant to the former President, for graft and plunder of public infrastructure projects in Davao City, Mindanao in the southern Philippines, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV included the Senator's father, Desiderio, and half brother, Alfredo, in the criminal complaints filed at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila on Friday.
He said that the graft and plunder complaints are based on a 2018 report by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) that found that builders, Christopher Lawrence Bong Tesoro Go (CLBT) and Alfrego Builders and Supply are owned by Senator Christopher Bong Go's father Desiderio and half brother, Alfredo.
''Senator Christopher Bong Go, his father, Desiderio and half brother, Alfredo dominated the construction of public infrastructure projects in Mindanao,' he said.
The 2018 report found that Senator Christopher Bong Go, his father Desiderio and half brother, Alfredo had dominated the construction of public infrastructure projects from 2007 while Rodrigo Duerte was Mayor of Davao City until 2017 while President of the Philippines.
Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said in his complaint that Christopher Lawrence Bong Tesoro Go (CLBT) builders and Alfrego Builders and Supply were awarded government infrastructure projects from 2007 to 2018 valued at more than P6.6 billion.
''It was during this period that Senator Christopher Bong Go was appointed to a Cabinet post by former President Duterte and that Christopher Lawrence Bong Tesoro Go (CLBT) builders and Alfrego Builders and Supply were involved an overwhelming number of substantial and sizeable public infrastructure projects worth billion of pesos,'' he said.
Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that Section 1(d) of the plunder law or Republic Act 7080 lists ways to acquire ill-gotten wealth, including ''taking undue advantage of official position, authority, relationship, connection or influence to unjustly enrich himself or themselves at the expense and to the damage and prejudice of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines.''
“By repeatedly awarding hundreds of public infrastructure projects worth billions upon billions of pesos to sole proprietorships undeniably owned by Christopher Lawrence Bong Tesoro Go (CLBT) builders and Alfrego Builders and Supply,
Senator Christopher Bong Go, his father, Desiderio, and half brother, Alfredo, unjustly enriched themselves at the expense
of the Filipino people and the Republic of the Philippines,'' he said.
In November 2016 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed a US$13.5 billion package agreement including private sector Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with China during a presidential four day state visit to China at the invitation of China President Xi Jinping.
The Philippine Mega Harbor Port and Development Inc., representative, Reghis Romero, who was one of 200 delegates representing Philippine business including oil and gas, signed a contract for the development of ports on the Davao coastline in Mindanao in the southern Philippines with China Dredging Corp. and Construction Communication Corp. (CCC).
The China Dredging Corp. and Construction Communication Corp. (CCC) had also undertaken to construct a P7.5-billion 50-hectare Harbor Center Port Terminal in Manila in order to alleviate port congestion in Manila.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Opposition Move Forward Party holds ruling Pheu Thai Party to election MoU promises

Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn said at the opening of parliament in Bangkok "Please keep in mind that you were chosen by the people to represent them in exercising legislative power and to consider various laws for the government to use as a principle to administer the country," on Wednesday July 3, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, July 6: Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn opened the parliament in Bangkok on Wednesday, the first parliamentary session since the May 14, 2023 elections that was won by the Move Forward Party (MFP), with the former leader of the now opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) Pita Limjaroenrat saying he would hold the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP), Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed after the elections last year, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Move Forward Party (MFP) now advisor, Pita Limjaroenrat, said on the first day of the new parliamentary session on Wednesday that ''the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) must honour its promises to improve transparency and efficiency in parliament, pass a new political amnesty bill and expedite Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTARF) reforms.''
''These promises were declared in a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed by the Move Forward Party (MFP) and the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) after the eight-party coalition led by the Move Forward Party (MFP) won Thailands general elections in May 2023.''
The eight-party coalition then led by the Move Forward Party, included the Pheu Thai Party, Thai Sang Thai Party, Prachachart Party, Seree Ruam Thai Party, Pheu Thai Ruam Palang Party, Fair Party, and Plung Sungkom Mai Party signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU) reaching agreement on 23 missions.
Then Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, said that the restoration of democracy was at the top of the list in the memorandum of understanding (MoU), giving assurances that "the coalition government policies will maintain Thailand's constitutional monarchy."
Pita Limjaroenrat, said that all eight coalition parties agreed that no mission of the government should affect Thailand's status as a unitary state, saying "no mission should affect Thailand as a democracy under a constitutional monarchy framework."
He said that moves to amend the Lese Majeste Law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code of the Constiutuion will continue, saying 'no mission of the government should affect the inviolable status of the monarchy."
The Pheu Thai Party (PTP) withdrew from the Move Forward Party (MFP) eight-party coalition on August 2, 2023 with Pheu Thai Party (PTP) then prime ministerial candidate, Srettha Thavisin, saying that he would not seek to abolish or amend the lese majeste law under Section 112 of the Criminal Code.
Ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, is accused of stalling the the passing of the Amnesty Bill that was submitted to the National Assembly of Thailand after the elections in May 2023, ''if we want to see Thailand move forward and a new government successfully set up, Section 112 that makes it illegal to defame, insult, or threaten the monarch of Thailand must be set aside."
In July 2023 the Move Forward Party (MFP) submitted a petition to the Thailand parliament to revoke the power of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) to select the prime minister after senators appointed by the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) voted against the Move Forward Party (MFP) leader Pita Limjaroenrat, 42, in his bid to be the next Prime Minister of Thailand.
The then Move Forward Party (MFP) secretary-general Chaithawat Tulath said that all members of the Move Forward Party (MFP) eight-party coalition including the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) signed the petition, saying "the petition supports amendments to Section 272 of the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) drafted 2017 Consititution."
The Move Forward Party (MFP) secretary-general Chaithawat Tulath said that all members of the Move Forward Party (MFP) eight-party coalition including the then Pheu Thai Party (PTP) signed the petition, saying "the Move Forward Party (MFP) is opposed to Section 272 that gives power to the Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) to select the prime minister,"
He said that from the 250 Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) members in the Senate, 159 senators abstained from voting while another 43 senators were absent, saying "the senators clearly expressed that they don't want to exercise their voting rights."
The Southeast Asian Times


Cambodian environmentalists sentenced to prison for conspiring against the state and insulting the king

Mother Nature Cambodia environmentalists, from left to right Long Kunthea, 26, Thon Ratha, 32, Phuon Keorasmey, 23, Ly Chandaravuth, 24, at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday July 2, 2024

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, July 5: Mother Nature Cambodia environmentalists, who worked to expose corruption and document environmental destruction, including widespread illegal logging, were convicted and sentenced to prison for conspiring against the state and insulting the king, including the 2021 filming of sewage draining into the Tonle Sap river from the Phnom Penh Royal Palace, with United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for the case to be reviewed on appeal in line with international human rights law, reports Reuters.
Ten Mother Nature Cambodia environmentalists, includng 6 in absentia were sentenced from six to eight years in prison on Tuesday for conspiring against the state and insulting the King, with United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) spokeperson Thameen Al-Kheetan saying ''the trial raised concerns that the proceedings did not comply with Cambodia’s binding obligations on human rights.''
''The increasing use by Cambodian authorities of lèse majesté and other articles of Cambodia’s criminal code to penalize the exercise of human rights is deeply worrying,'' he said
He said that the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) urge Cambodian authorities to review the case on appeal in line with international human rights law, saying ''six of the Mother Nature Cambodia environmentalists were minors at the time the alleged acts were committed.'' The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calls on Cambodia to amend relevant articles of the Criminal Code to bring them into conformity with international human rights law, saying ''we are ready to engage with the Cambodian government in this process.''
Law student Ly Chandaravuth, 24, Phuon Keorasmey, 23, Long Kunthea. 26, and Thon Ratha, 32) were each given a six-year prison sentence for conspiring against the state and insulting the King.
Yim Leanghy, 35, was sentenced to eight years in prison in absentia, and ordered to pay a fine of 10 million riel ($2,500),
Founder of Mother Nature Cambodia, Spanish national, Gonzalez-Davidson, who was deported from Cambodia in 2015, was sentenced in absentia to eight years and ordered to pay 10 million riel ($2,500.)
Minh Piseth, Pok Khoeuy and Rai Raksa received six year prison sentences also in absentia for conspiring against the state and insulting the King.
Mother Nature Cambodia environmentalists, law student Ly Chandaravuth, 24, was arrested while testing pollution in the Tonle Sap river and charged with conspiring against the state and insulting the King and who was in pre-trial detention for five months said that ''questions asked by the judge on the third hearing on June 11 did not seem relevant to the charges of conspiring against the state and insulting the king.''
He said the court seemed focused on establishing the source of funds and training for Mother Nature Cambodia, saying ''it seemed the court wanted the Mother Nature Cambodia group to be seen as a foreign-funded and internationally trained organization.''
''The allegation that Mother Nature Cambodia is foreign funded has been repeatedly pushed by pro-government media,'' he said.
In November 2018 Cambodia's Non Government Organisations (NGO's) called on the government to repeal the Law on Associations and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO's) passed by the Cambodia National Assemby in 2015 with the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), a membership organisation for Cambodian and international Non- Government Organisations (NGOs) executive director, Soeung Saroeun, saying then that Non-Government Organisation (NGO's) want to carry out their activities without restrictions that were imposed on them by the passing of the Law on Associations and Non-Government Organisations (NGO's).
The Southeast Asian Times

Philippines makes submission to United Nations to extend continental shelf in West Philippine Sea

From News Reports:
Manila, July 4: The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs made an official submission to extend the continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea to the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), on Junes 15, with the Philippines saying ''today we secure our future by making a manifestation of our exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources in the West Philippine Sea,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs, Marshall Louis M. Alferez, said that the Philippines is entitled to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf under Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
''A coastal State like the Philippines is entitled to establish the outer limits of its continental shelf that includes the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas extending beyond 200 nautical miles but not to exceeding 350 nautical miles from the baseline,'' he said.

Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for Maritime and Ocean Affairs, Marshall Louis M. Alferez, said ''incidents in the waters in the West Philippine Sea tend to overshadow the importance of what lies beneath'

He said that the seabed and the subsoil extending from the Philippines up to the maximum extent allowed by United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) hold significant potential resources that will benefit our nation and our people for generations to come, saying ''today we secure our future by making a manifestation of our exclusive right to explore and exploit natural resources in our entitlement,'' he said.
Assistant Secretary Alferez said that the Philippine submission does not prejudice discussions with relevant coastal states that may have legitimate extension of the continental shelf claims measured from their respective lawful baselines under UNCLOS, saying ''we consider our submission as a step in discussing delimitation matters and other forms of cooperation moving forward,''
''What is important is the Philippines puts on record the maximum extent of the Philippines entitlement,'' he said.
In July 2016 Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of "historic rights" over the South China Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision followed the Philippine complaint in 2013 that called on the court to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
The Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in 2016 that China had violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking "historic rights" in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling with China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang saying then that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
"The dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Former Cambodia PM Hun Sen warns of attempt to form illegal government in exile

Former Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen and ruling party Cambodia Peoples Party President Hun Sen at 73 anniversary of the party's founding at the party's headquarters in Phnom Penh on Friday 28 June 2024

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, July 3: Former Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, who is now President of ruling Cambodia Peoples Party (CPP) and Senate President, warned on Friday at the party's 73 anniversary celebration at the party's headquarters in Phnom Penh that ''an extremist group is in the process of attempting to form an illegal government-in-exile (GiE), '' reports the Phnom Penh Post.
''Stern action will be taken to stop the threat,'' he said.
Former Prime Minister Hun Sen said he received leaked information that an extremist group is plotting to form an illegal government-in-exile (GiE), saying ''the initiative to form an illegal government-in-exile (GiE) has begun.''
''The extremist groups are initiating a GiE abroad to oppose the legitimate government and destroy the peace and security of the Cambodian people,'' he said.
''I would like to confirm that any political party or organisation in Cambodia that has ties to the illegal government-in-exile (GiE) must be dissolved to ensure that national interests are protected,'' he said at the 73 anniversary celebration of the Cambodia Peoples Party (CPP).
He called on the ruling Cambodia Peoples Party (CPP) led by his son Prime Minister, Hun Manet, ''to amend the law on political parties or other relevant laws to severely punish the extremists who join in the formation of the GiE.''
Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC), Secretary-General, Yang Peou, said that the message from former Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen, can be viewed as a deterrent against threats to peace and national security.
''Given the past political situation, Cambodia has had a difficult time maintaining peace and political stability,'' he said.
He said that Cambodians should work together to achieve lasting peace in order to have the opportunity to develop the country,
saying, ''We should not create a government-in-exile (GiE) or a shadow government abroad to oppose the government in the Cambodia.''
In June 2022 the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced 42 former members and supporters of the Court-dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) including Cambodian-American lawyer, Seng Theary, to six years in prison for treason for plotting to overthrow the ruling Hun Sen government and former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy to eight years inprison in absentia.
Former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) president Sam Rainsy to eight years in prison in absentia for treason for plotting to overthrow the Hun Sen government, incitement to committ a felony and inciting military disobedience under Articles 453, 471, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code.
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court's decision was the direct implementation of Cambodian law, with Justice Ministry spokesman, Chin Malin, saying then "the court had a solid and clear legal basis to charge and sentence the former members of the dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) for treason for plotting to overthrow the Hun Sen government under the pretext of the return to Cambodia of its president Sam Rainsy from exile in France .
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Philippine Senate demands identity
of former Cabinet member who facilitated illegal gaming licenses

Senate President, Francis Escudero, demands that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair, Alejandro Tengco, identify the former Cabinet member that allegedly facilitated gaming licenses to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs)

From News Reports:
Manila July 2: The Philippine Senate led by Senate President, Francis Escudero, demands that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair, Alejandro Tengco, identify the former Cabinet member that PAGCOR claimed on Saturday allegedly facilitated gaming licenses to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs), reports the Philippine Inquirer.
''Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair, Alejandro Tengco, should name the cabinet member,'' said Senate President Francis Escudero.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, Senators Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Risa Hontiveros have joined the Senate President's demand for (PAGCOR) to identify the cabinet member who allegedly facilitated gaming licenses to illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs), saying that ''revealing this person’s identity would avoid casting a shadow of suspicion over all past Cabinet members.''
Former Senate House of Representatives Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said ''the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) should reveal the identity of the cabinet member.''
''PAGCOR's revelation on Saturday proves that (POGOs) should be banned from the Philippines,'' he said.
Senator Joel Villanueva said ''the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has infiltrated not only business and gaming industries but also our government with local and Cabinet members serving as their protectors,'' he said.
''Our duty as public servants is not to protect the illegal activities of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) but to put the Filipino people’s welfare as our main priority,'' he said.
Senate President, Francis Escudero, said the Senate Committee headed by Sherwin Gatchalian and Senator Risa Hontiveros should unmask the Cabinet member and find out if the Cabinet member has violated any laws.''
Sherwin Gatchalian said that the Senate Committee would press the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair, Alejandro Tengco, to reveal the identity of the former cabinet member allegedly involved in illicit Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) activities in the next Senate hearing.
He said that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair, Alejandro Tengco, could identify a government official who worked under former President Rodrigo Duterte administration, saying ''POGOs commenced their illegal gaming activities during his administration.''
Senator Risa Hontiveros claims that a senior government official had facilitated gaming licences for illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) that were raided on March 13, saying she is preparing for the next hearing on illegal POGO's.
'I expect that Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chair, Alejandro Tengco, will attend the next hearing personally, rather than send a representative,'' she said.
“Whoever the ex-Cabinet official turns out to be, the fact remains that POGOs are being used as a legal cover for scam hubs,'' she said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said that 295 foreign workers were found at the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) premises in Bamban, Tarlac in the Philippine National Police raid on March 13, saying that the illegal POGO hub in Bamban had offices outfitted with computor workstations with instructional guides and scripts used to conduct love scams and crypto schemes, rows of iPhones and Android smartphones hung on racks at the illegal pogo hub, saying ''numerous SIM cards, presumably used to execute fraudulent transactions were also found.''
Senator Risa Hontiveros said that human trafficking is part of the illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos)
business model, saying ''the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) continues to be exploited.''
The Southeast Asian Times

Indonesia to push eight countries to ratify Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, left, and Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), with executive secretary, Robert Floyd, right, discuss progress on the ratification of the treaty in Vienn, Austria on Tuesday June 25, 2024

From News Reports:
Jakarta, July1: Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, agreed to continue to push eight countries for ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), with executve secretary, Robert Floyd, and Austrian Foreign Minister, Alexander Schallenberg, in Vienna, Austria on Tuesday, with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi saying ''the CTBT provisions state that the treaty will come into force when the eight outstanding countries in Annex II of the CTBT ratify it.''
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said that Indonesia has agreed to continue pushing for ratification of eight countries in Annex II. of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO.)
She said that Annex II countries are countries that took part in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBT) negotiations in 1994 to 1996 at the Conference on Disarmament, saying ''Annex 11 countries are countries that once had and still have nuclear weapons and or large capacity nuclear reactors."
''The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has been signed by 187 countries and ratified by 178 countries,'' she said.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said ratification is still required from eight Annex 11 countries, saying ''China, North Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, and the United States are still to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization for it to enter into force.''
''Indonesia is an Annex II country that ratified the treaty in 2011,'' she said.
"We welcome the ratification of Papua New Guinea on March 13 this year, and we agree to continue to push for ratification by the eight countries in Annex II," she said.
Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, said that Indonesia has strong cooperation with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), saying Indonesia hosts six Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), seismic stations.
''Indonesia hosts Jayapura, Sorong, Parapat, Kappang, Baumata, and Lembang Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) stations,'' she said.
Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi said that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) stations in Indonesia are useful for tsunami early warning systems, saying ''Indonesia is ready to carry out stronger cooperation with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).
"This meeting is very important at this time in a world situation that is increasingly filled with uncertainty where conflict and war can occur at any time," she said.
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Deputy Police Commissioner files malfeasance complaint against Thai PM for dismissal

Former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn, has filed a malfeasance complaint against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) for his dismissal from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) force

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 30: Former Deputy Police Commission- General, Surachate Hakparn, who was reportedly in line for promotion to the Police Commissioner-General position, but was dismissed from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Force, has filed a malfeasance complaint with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, with the NACC saying ''the NACC wants more time to investigate the complaint of alleged malfeasance against Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin,'' reports the Nation.
Former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn, who was the most senior Deputy Police Commissioner in line for promotion to the Police Commissioner-General position, was removed for promotion by a panel of Royal Thai Police (RTP) force members established by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
Acting Deputy Police General, Kitrat Phanphet, who is reportedly now in line for promotion to become Police Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police (RTP) force, endorced the Royal Thai Police (RTP) force panel decision to remove former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn, from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) force.
National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general Niwatchai Kasemmongkol said the NACC could not say whether Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin would face a formal investigation as a result of the complaint made by former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn.
''The NACC was still at the stage of gathering facts to decide whether the complaint had substance or not,'' he said.
National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) secretary-general said the NACC was investigating accusations that former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn, was involved in money laundering for an online gambling network.
Former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn has also filed a complaint against acting Deputy Police General, Kitrat Phanphet for malfeasance with the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), for lack of fairness in proceedings of a panel established by Prime Minister. Srettha Thavisin.
Deputy Police General, Kitrat Phanphet, endorced the Royal Thai Police (RTP) decision to remove former Deputy Police General, Surachate Hakparn, from the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Force from a panel established by the Prime Minister.

The Southeast Asian Times

Malaysian fugitive financier Jho Low
forfeits embezzled 1MDB assets to US

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has reached agreement with Low Taek Jho also known as Jho Low to forfeit embezzled assetts from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB)

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 29: The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) reached agreement with Malaysian financier fugitive Low Taek Jho also known as Jho Low, members of his family, and trust entities for the return of assets involved in the misappropriatsion of RM42 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) funds under Malaysia's former ousted Prime Minister Najib Razaks, reports the Star.
A warrant for the arrest of Malaysian fugitive financier Low Taek Jho also known as Jho Low was issued in August 2018 for money laundering involved in the misappropriation of funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that was founded by ousted former Prime Minister Najib Razak who was the Finance Minister and chairman of the state fund.
The US Justice Department claims that more than $1.7 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund was invested in hotels, luxury real estate in Manhattan, Beverly Hills and London including $100 million in the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street" and including the luxury yacht 'Equanimity' valued at US$250 million.
The luxury yacht 'Equanimity' that was seized in Bali by Malaysian authorities was allegedly linked to the recovery of assets that were purchased with the misappropriated funds from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) fund.
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) said that Malaysian financier fugitive Low Taek Jho also known as Jho Low, faces criminal charges for allegedly conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and for conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by allegedly paying bribes to various Malaysian and Emirati officials and for conspiring to make and conceal foreign and conduit campaign contributions during the United States presidential election in the District of Columbia in 2012.
Fugitive financiers Low Taek Jho and his father Larry Low Hock Pen, allegedly laundered hundreds of millions of illicit funds in real estate in the United States, transferring $85 million to casinos in Las Vegas in eight months between 2009 and 2010.
The US Justice Department said that the agreement reached with Malaysian financier fugitive Low Taek Jho also known as Jho Low, members of his family, and trust entities involved in the misappropriation of RM42 million from the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) included the return to Malaysia assets including cash in bank accounts valued at US$67million from Hong Kong, Switzerland and Singapore.
"The agreement resolves the civil forfeiture action against a luxury apartment in Paris and artwork located in Switzerland by artists Andy Warhol and Claude Monet, which Low purchased for approximately US$35million in total,” said the the United States Department of Justice (DoJ).
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Captain America challenges revocation of prison release under new Hong Kong security law

Ma Chun-man, 34, also known as Captain America, was sentenced to prison for five years and nine months for treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Central People's Government of China in Hong Kong in Tursday 11 November 2021

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, June 28: Ma Chun-man, 34, also known as Captain America, who was sentenced to prison for five years and nine months for treason, secession, sedition and subversion in Hong Kong against the Central People's Government of China in 2021, has had early release from prison revoked, reports the Hong Kong Free Press.
Ma Chun-man, 34, also known as Captain America who protested against the Central People's Government of China rule over Hong Kong in 2019, has filed Hong Kong's first legal challenge against Article 23 that was included in the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR on March 19, 2024.
The new Safeguarding National Security Ordinance Article 23 stipulates that a prisoner that has been convicted for treason, secession, sedition and subversion ''cannot be granted remission unless the commissioner is satisfied that an early release will not be contrary to the interests of national security.''
Ma Chun-man, 34, also known as Captain America, said he was informed by the Hong Kong Correctional Services Department (CSD) in late February that his release from the Tong Fuk Correctional Institution was March 25, with his lawyer saying 'he had been given more than a year reduction for good behaviour from the five-year and nine month sentence.''
''But on March 23 two days before he was to be released he was informed by the Hong Kong Correctional Services Department (CSD) that early release would not be granted,'' he said.
On November 11, 2021, Ma Chun-man, 34, also known as Captain America pleaded not guilty to charges of treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Central People's Government of China.
He was accused of chanting 'liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times' and 'Hong Kong independence, the only way out'.
Ma Chun-man, 34, also known as Captain America wrote a letter to presiding Judge Stanley Chan, saying he has 'no regret for his actions.''
'On my road to democracy and freedom, I can't afford to be a coward,' he said.
New Article 23 of the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) stipulates that ''Hong Kong shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the HKSAR, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the HKSAR from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.''
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Former Senator Leila de Lima cleared of drug charges during former President Duterte war on drug

Former Senator Leila de Lima, 63, centre, a former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair was cleared of all drug charges brought against her under former President Rodrigo Duterte administration during the campaign on the war on drugs at the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court in Manila on Monday June 24, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, June 27: Former Senator Leila de Lima, 63, a former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair, was cleared of all drug charges brought while she was the Justice Secretary under former President Rodrigo Duterte campaign on the war on drugs, with the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court in Manila dismissing the last remaining drug charge brought against her by the former Bureau of Corrections Director at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), reports Philippine Inquirer.
Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Judge, Gener Gito, dismissed the charges against former Senator Leila de Lima on grounds that the evidence presented by the prosecutors is insufficient for a criminal conviction.
''The prosecution was not able to prove the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt,” he said.
Judge, Gener Gito, said their was insufficient evidence to establish a conspiracy between the former Senator Leila de Lima, the former Bureau of Corrections Director Franklin Jesus Bucayu, and other co-defendants to engage in illegal drug trading within New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Senator Leila de Lima, 63, who was in detention at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial centre in Camp Crame in Quezon City since her arrest on February 24, 2017, until she was released on bail on November 13, 2023, has denied charges of alleged involvement in the drug trade that allegedly took place at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) while she was the Justice Secretary.
Former Senator Leila de Lima, called for the transfer of 9 prisoners from the Sablayan Prison and Penal Farm (SPPF) in Occidental Mindoro after the prisoners retracted their testmonies in a letter addressed to Judge Gener Gito of the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court in Manila after she was released on bail from the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial centre in Camp Crame in Quezon City on November 13, 2023.
In May 2022 the prosecution star witness Bureau of Corrections officer, Rafael Ragos, withdrew his statements that accused Senator Leila de Lima of drug trafficking at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during the Senator's term as Justice Secretary.
"The withdrawal by the former Bureau of Corrections officer of the accusations against Senator Leila de Lima in an affidavit should compel the Department of Justice (DOJ) to drop all charges against Senator Leila de Lima," said Lawyer, De Leon for Senator Leila de Lima.
Lawyer, De Leon said then that the Rafael Ragos retraction followed the retraction of key witness Rolan Kerwin Espinosa, who said he had been misled by the police into signing his affidavit against the senator in exchange for dropping charges against him.
Senetor Leila de Lima has denied charges of alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP), accusing President Duterte of political persecution.
In April 2009 Senator De Lima in her role as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair, said that the Commission would prove there is a Davao Death Squad (DDS) in Mindanao in the southern Phillipines that was initiated and funded by former Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte
"The Human Rights Watch (HRW) investigation had "found evidence of complicity and at times direct involvement of government officials and members of the police in killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS)."

The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore seeks compensation for environmental damage from oil spill from Singapore-flagged oil tanker

Workers clean-up oil spilled from the Singapore-flagged oil tanker, Marine Honour that washed up Singapore's Siglap Canal at East Coast Park beaches on Wed 19 Jun 2024

From News Reports:
Singapore, June 26: The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) seeks compensation from the owner of the Singapore-flagged oil tanker, Marine Honour, that spilled more that 400 tonnes of oil at Singapore's Pasir Panjang Terminal, with the MPA saying ''the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) seeks compensation although the bunker vessel Marine Honour is not at fault,'' reports Reuters.
The Singapore-flagged bunker vessel, Marine Honour, was struck by the Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima at Singapore's Pasir Panjang Terminal on June 15, 2024, with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) saying that the owners of the Singapore-flagged bunker vessel, Marine Honour, are liable to pay compensation for environmental damage.
''The owner of the Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour is liable for costs incurred in containing the oil spill and damages caused by the oil spill to the environment, although the bunker vessel Marine Honour is not at fault,'' said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) says that it is working with National Environment Agency (NEA), NParks and Sentosa Development Corporation on the clean-up operation of the oil spill at sea and on shore.
''According to the Merchant Shipping Act 1998 the shipowner of bunker vessel Marine Honour is liable for marine pollution caused by the oil spill in Singaporean waters, says the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said that ''the Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima reported a sudden loss of engine and steering control before the vessel struck the Singapore flagged bunker vessel, Marine Honour at Singapore's Pasir Panjang Terminal, saying ''the Netherlands-flagged dredger Vox Maxima caused a rupture to the Singapore flagged bunker vessel, Marine Honour's oil tanks.''
''The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) oil spill contractors were activated, mobilising an oil skimmer to reduce the impact of the spill,'' said the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said that the oil spill from the Singapore-flagged bunker vessel, Marine Honour, has polluted the southern shoreline of Singapore including Sentosos, Labrador Nature Reserve, Southern Islands, Marina South Pier, and East Coast Park.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Philippines fishers urged to continue fishing despite China's new ruling to arrest trespassers in South China Sea

Philippines opposition political parties and fishing associations destroy a cardboard effigy of China President Xi Jinping outside the Beijing consulate office in Manila in protest of China's new coast guard rules on Friday June 14, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, June 25: The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) urged fishers in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) located in the disputed South China Sea to continue fishing despite China's new coastguard ruling that allows China coast guards to detain alleged trespassers, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), saying "We have the right to exploit the resources in the area,'' reports Reuters
China that claims almost all of the South China Sea including areas claimed by the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam introduced a new ruling that became effective on June 15, 2024 allowing China coast guards to detain alleged tresspassers for 60 days and use lethal force against foreign ships in waters claimed by China.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Romeo Brawner said "we have the right to exploit the resources in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) so our fishermen have no reason to be afraid."
"That's our message to our fishermen, for them not to be afraid but to just go ahead with their normal activities in our exclusive economic zone," he said.
Philippine fishers protested at China's consulate office in Makati, central Manila against China's new ruling that allow the China Coast Guard to make arrests in the disputed South China Sea, protesting the day before the ruling becoming effective on June 15, 2024, with opposition party-list of Bayan Myna, Mong Palatino saying, ''fishermen and the Filipino people will defy the order,''
He said that protesters were condemning what they saw as China’s baseless action in the West Philippine Sea, saying ''it is China that should be held accountable for trespassing.''
Former opposition party-list of Bayan Myna representative Teddy Casina said that fishers demostrating at the China's consulate office in Makati, were urging China to reconsider the China coast guard policy.
''We are here to condemn China’s latest new level of grabbing our territory,'' he said.
New Masinloc Fishermen’s Association (NMFA) in Masinloc, Zambales, near Scarborough Shoal, secretary Leonardo Cuaresma, said that his community would continue to operate in their traditional fishing ground.
He warned that 10 Chinese national would be abducted for every local Filipino injured or detained by China, saying ''there are many Chinese here in the Philippines if that’s what they want.''
''We will continue to fish. We don’t care about that rule because we believe we are not violating any law,'' he said.
In July 2016 Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of "historic rights" over the South China Sea.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague decision followed the Philippine complaint in 2013 that called on the Court of Arbitration to intervene in the Philippine dispute with China over the right to exploit natural resources inluding fish in the West Philippine Sea.
The Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in 2016 that China has violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking "historic rights" in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
The Southeast Asian Times


Philippines will not activate 1951 U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty over violent confrontation with China Coast Guard

The Philippine Navy and the China Coast Guard in a violent confrontation at the second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea on Monday June 17, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, June 24: The Philipines will not activate the 1951 United States Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) that binds the Philippines and the United States to come to each other's military aid in the event of an attack by an external power, after a violent confrontation between the Filipinnes Navy and the China Coast Guard in the contested South China Sea, with executive secretary to Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., saying ''we are not ready to consider this as an armed attack,'' reports the Philippine Inquirer.
Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., executive secretary, Lucas Bersamin, said on Friday that the violent confrontation on June 17 between the Filipinnes Navy and the China Coast Guard at the second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea is not considered an armed attack, saying ''the incident was probably a misunderstanding or an accident.''
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claimed that during the confrontation in the contested South China Sea one of its vessels was forcibly towed, looted and damaged, and that Chinese personnel used machetes, blades and pikes to threaten sailors and damage equipment.
''A Filipino sailor lost a finger during the standoff,'' said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The China Foreign Ministry accused the Philippines navy of attempting to transport firearms and construction materials to refurbish the WWII ship LST BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) that was grounded by the Philippines at the Thomas Shoal in the 1990s to mark a territorial claim.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lin Jian, claims that the Filipino Navy rammed the Chinese Coast Guard vessels, throwing water and hurling objects at the Chinese Coast Guards, saying ''these acts clearly escalated tensions and severely threatened the safety of Chinese personnel and vessels.''
The violent confrontation between the Chinese Coast Guard and the Filipino Navy at the second Thomas Shoal in the disputed South China Sea began on June 17, two days after the enforcement of new regulations authorising the Chinese Coast Guard to intercept and detain foreign vessels and crews allegedly trespassing in the South China Sea.
Presidential assistant on Maritime Concerns, retired Philippine Army General, Andres Castor Centino, said that activating the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) has not been considered.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand first in ASEAN to enact the Marriage Equality Act 2024

Members of the Thailand LGBTQ+ community at Parliament House in Bangkok on the passing of the Marriage Equality Act 2024 becoming the first in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries to enact the law Tuesday June 18, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 23: Thailands senators voted to pass the Marriage Equality Act 2024 that legalises same-sex marriage, with Thailand becoming the first of the 10 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries to enact the law, with Thailand Amnesty International saying ''Thailand has taken a historic step towards becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize marriage for LGBTI couples,'' reports Amnesty International.
Amnesty International Thailand Researcher, Chanatip Tatiyakaroonwong, said ''this landmark moment is a reward for the tireless work of activists, civil society organizations and lawmakers who have fought for this victory.”
''While there is no doubt that the legalization of marriage for LGBTI couples is a key milestone for Thailand, much more must be done to guarantee full protection of LGBTI people in the country,'' he said.
He said that LGBTI people in Thailand continue to face many forms of violence and discrimination, including but not limited to technology-facilitated gender-based violence which oftens targets human rights defenders.
''Thai authorities must build on the momentum and take further steps that protect the rights and ensure the participation of LGBTI people and organizations,'' he said.
In June 2023 the then eight-party coalition led by the Move Forward Party (MFP) that had won the general elections in May 14, 2023, vowed to legalise same-sex marriage and gender equality, with then Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, saying "once we form government, we will push for amendements to the Marriage Equality Act in the first 100 days,"
The then eight-party coalition led by the Move Forward Party (MFP) that included the now ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 23 missions that included the Marriage Equality Act with the restoration of democracy at the top of the list followed by the mission to ''Affirm and pass the Marriage Equality Act to ensure equal rights for all couples, regardless of gender, without infringing upon the religious principles each individual adheres to."
Move Forward Party (MFP) list-Members of Parliament elect, Parit Wacharasindhu, said then that amendements to the Marriage Equality Act would not only promote gender equality but also open a host of financial, tax and inheritance benefits for members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
He said that the Marriage Equality Act aims to amend Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code, saying "Section 1448 of the Civil and Commercial Code limits the definition of marriage to a man and a woman.
"Amendements to the Marriage Equality Act would make the marriage law applicable to any couple, regardless of gender," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times
 

Thailand votes to amend Referendum Act 2021 in effort to amend military drafted Constitution

Pheu Thai Party (PTP) Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, at weekly cabinet meeting at parliament house Bangkok on Tuesday June 18, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, June 22: Thailand's House of Representatives voted to table four draft bills seeking to remove the double majority requirement in Referendum Act 2021 in an effort to amend the 2017 Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) drafted Constitution, with 450 of 500 members of the House of Representatives voting in favour and one abstention, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Cabinet, the ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP), opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), and the Bhumjaithai Party tabled the first draft of four bills favouring a single majority requirement under the Referendum Act 2021 on Tuesday.
Section 13 of the Referendum Act 2021 requires more than 50 percent of eligible voters in a referendum to participate and the majority of those casting votes to approve the result.
Ruling Pheu Thai Party (PTP) list member of parliament, Chaturon Chaisang, said that the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) seeks to remove the double majority requirement in the Referendum Act 2021 and to amend the Referendum Act 2021 to allow campaigns by those who agree or disagree with the referendum question.
He said the four draft bills are crucial to amending the constitution, saying 'the four draft bills that seek to amend the Referendum Act 2021 will pave the way for a Constitution drafting assembly to be established and will ensure the Referendum Act 2021 will not obstruct Constitution amendments," he said.
Opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) member of parliament, Parit Wacharasindhu, said that the double majority requirement under the Referendum Act 2021 ''means those who disagree with amendments to the 2017 Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) drafted Constitution would simply stay at home rather than take part in a referendum to vote against proposed amendments to the Constitution.''
''The double majority gives those who disagree with any changes proposed in the referendum a loophole through which they can ignore the matter and eventually let the referendum fall by the wayside,'' he said.
He said that those who disagree with the questions posed in the referendum, saying ''instead of voting against them they may choose to stay at home.''
''If the participation requirement fails, the referendum is rejected.'' he said.
Move Forward Party (MFP) member of parliament, Parit Wacharasindhu, said the Move Forward Party (MFP) will propose a motion on what question should be posed in a referendum after amendments to the Referendum Act 2021 are approved by the parliament.
The Southeast Asian Times


China and Malaysia agree ASEAN countries handle sovereignty dispute in South China Sea independently

Malaysia's King Sultan, Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, left, and China's Premier, Li Qiang at the national palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday June 19, 2024

From New Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, June 21: Malaysia's and China's exchange of Memorandums of Understandings (MoU's) during the official visit by the Premier of China, Li Qiang, to Malaysia, included an agreement on the dispute over sovereignty of the South China Sea, with Foreign Minister of Malaysia saying, ''it is important for both China and Malaysia to bolster cooperation,'' reports the Star.
"Although this year marks the 50th anniversary of both nations establishing diplomatic relations, we have had ties with China hundreds of years ago since the time of Hang Li Po and Admiral Cheng Ho,'' said Foreign Minister of Malaysia, Mohamad Hasan.
Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, and Premier of China, Li Qiang, witnessed the exchange of 14 Memorandums of Understandings (MoU's) including three MoUs between the Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) and China on the Second Cycle of the Five-year Programme for Economic and Trade Cooperation 2024-2028, Strengthening Investment Corporation in Digital Economy and the Promotion of Investment and Cooperation in Green Development.
Two MoUs between the Malaysia Communications Ministry and the China Media Group of the People's Republic of China were exchaned on cooperation in the Field of Media and on strengthening Cooperation in the Postal Field between the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) and the China State Postal Bureau.
Malaysia also exchanged two MoUs with China on the Executive Programme for the Implementation of the Agreement on Cultural Cooperation; and Cooperation in the Field of Tourism.
Premier of China, Li Qiang, and Prime Minister of China Anwar Ibrahim, also agreed that China and relevant Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries ''should independently handle the South China Sea dispute over sovereignty in the South China Sea in the general direction of bilateral settlement.''
Five Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries, Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia have independently challenged China's claim of sovereignty over the South China Sea with the Philippines calling on the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague in 2013 to intervene in the dispute over soverignty in the West Philippine Sea.
In July 2016 the Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of "historic rights" over the South China Sea.
The Judges of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruled that China had violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by invoking "historic rights" in its claim over the West Phillipine Sea.
China rejected the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague ruling with the then China Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang saying that "the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague has no jurisdiction on this matter."
"The dispute was not covered by U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) because it was ultimately a matter of sovereignty not exploitation rights." he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


China Premier interested in Western Australia's plans for producing
'green iron'

Australian Federal Minister of Resources in the Northern Territory, Madeleine King, left, and Premier of China, Li Qiang, at the Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) Hazelmere research and development facility, Perth, Western Australia Tuesday June 18, 2024


From News Reports:

Perth, June 20: Premier Li Qiang of China ended his official four day visit to Australia on Tuesday in Perth, Western Australia with a visit to global metal mining company, Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), headquartered in Western Australia, with Premier Li Qiang's interest in the company's plans to produce iron ore without carbon emissions, reports Associated Press.
Fortescue Metals Group (FMGs) chairman, Andrew Forrest said that Premier Li Qiang was interested in the company’s plans to produce iron ore without carbon emissions, saying ''green iron.''
''I think China chose Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) because it’s not just the best technology to go green in Australia, it’s the best technology to go green in the world and we’ve got real examples of it in trains, ship engines, trucks,'' he said.
The Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) Perth, Western Australia facility is testing technology on hydrogen, ammonia and battery power for trains, ships, trucks and heavy mining equipment.
Premier Li Qiang also visited, the Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA) downstream processing refinery at the Kwinana producing battery grade lithium hydroxide located south of Perth, Western Australia.
Lithium joint venture entity, Tianqi Lithium Energy Australia (TLEA) is 51 percent owned by China's Tianqi Lithium Corporation (TLC) and 49 percent owned by IGO Ltd (IGO) including a 51 percent interest in the Greenbushes Lithium mine and 100 percent ownership of the Kwinana Lithium Hydroxide Refinery in Western Australia.
Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) chairman, Andrew Forrest, said ''the national risk from Chinese investment in the Critical Minerals sector was over stated, saying ''Australia should be producing all the critical minerals in the world.''
''Australia is a great mining country, so by all means let's go it harder after Critical Minerals,'' he said.
In November 2023 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders endorsed a Critical Minerals Dialogue at the 2023 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) in San Fransisco, with Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese saying "Australia's in a strong position when it comes to Critical Minerals."
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) leaders that include 15 of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members endorsed a Critical Minerals Dialogue, saying '' the Critical Minerals Dialogue would strengthen collaboration in Critical Minerals supple chains to boost regional competitiveness.''
He said that the Critical Minerals Dialogue will assist the region in transitioning to clean energy, saying "Australia's vision is to become a renewable energy superpower for our region."
"Australia will play a crucial role in building the region's supply chains as it undertakes this energy transition." he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


China and Australia agree not to support Taiwan independence under one-China principle

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, left, and Chinese Premier Li Qiang co-chair the 9th China-Australia Annual Leaders' Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia Monday June 17, 2024


From News Reports:

Canberra, June 19: The Premier of China, Li Qiang, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, co-chaired the 9th China-Australia Annual Leaders' Meeting at Parliament House in Canberra on Monday, on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership, with the Prime Minister of Australia saying that ''Australia upholds the one-China principle and does not support Taiwan independence'' and the Premier of China, Li Qiang saying that ''China is reader to oppose bloc confrontation,'' reports Reuters.
The Premier of China, Li Qiang said that ''China is ready to step up coordination and cooperation with Australia at the regional and international level,'' saying that China is ready to oppose bloc confrontation and a new Cold War in the broadest common interests of all parties, safeguarding peace and stability in the region.''
''Australia and China should remain open and inclusive, pursue common development and work jointly to advance regional economic integration and build an open world economy,'' he said.
The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese said that Australia is pleased to see bilteral relations stabilized and moving in a positive direction, saying that ''Australia upholds the one-China principle and does not support Taiwan independence from China''.
He said that Australia is ready to maintain dialogue and communication with China, saying ''Australia will take the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership, to strengthen cooperation in economy and trade, energy, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, environmental protection and climate change response.''
''Australia is also ready to step up exchanges between legislatures of the two countries,'' he said.
He said that Australia is ready to work to prevent bilateral relations from being defined by differences and to promote sustained improvement and development of Australia-China relations, saying ''Australia welcomes more Chinese students and tourists to study and travel in Australia.''
The Premier of China, Li Qiang, and the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understandng's on Education and Research, Climate Change, the Australia-China Strategic Economic Dialogue, Further Enhancing the Implementation of China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, and the 15th Implementation Program for Cultural Exchanges for 2024-2027 under the 1981 Agreement on Cultural Cooperation.
The Southeast Asian Times
 
 






What they're saying open page here


MEDIA CHECK
Cambodia-China Journalist Association (CCJA) launched in Phnom Penh ...open here


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Darwin reporter John Loizou asks a survivor of the 1965 killings in Bali "why didn't you try to stop them" in "Remembering the slaughter in Paradise"
........open page here



Kang-Fu the Red Kangaroo is relentless in his fight to protect Australia's sovereignity...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




Indigenous Australians in the northern Queensland town of East Trinity aim for economic independence from eco-cultural tourism, reports Christine Howes in "Australian indigenous eco-cultural tourism venture wins best small project national award " ...open here


Kavi Chongkittavorn talks about the UK application to become an ASEAN dialogue partner in "New dynamics of Aseans external ties," with consensus yet to be reached on admitting a former colonial master of four ASEAN member countries into the Southeast Asian bloc....open


Esther Samboh talks about the choise between thousands dying of Covid-19 or from hunger in densely populated Jakarta in the new normal in "Medics dying, infections soaring - it's still the economy" ...open page here


Australian reporter, Chris Ray, investigates why Australia dropped five spots in the World Press Freedom Index...open


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Read what Son Nguyen has to say about the impact of China's virus on Vietnam's economy in "When the economy gets sick" open here


Has the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra suffered a fatal blow, or will it rise again? asks Australian reporter Chris Ray... Open page here

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Darwin reporter John Loizou asks a survivor of the 1965 killings in Bali "why didn't you try to stop them" in "Remembering the slaughter in Paradise"
........open page here



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


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

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

Viet Nam is planning to go nuclear by the year 2020.reports
John Loizou
in "Calculating the costs of nuclear energy in Vietnam" ...open page here


The founder of the Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (Fretilin), Mari Alkatiri, the now former Prime Minister of Timor Leste, after losing the May 12, 2018 election to the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) party, led by Xanana Gusmao, has accused the opposition of a coup attempt.
Twelve years ago Mari Alkatiri also accused the opposition of a coup attemp claiming then that the crises that led to his resignation was the result of a conspiracy. "I have no doubt about that" he told Darwin reporter John Loizou in an interview in Dili on 6 November 2006
......open page here

 

Cuba's 302 physicians in East Timor work at five hospitals and remote villages throughout the republic...writes Darwin reporter John Loizou ...open page here

 

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

 

Benedict Anderson, a man without a country, dies in Indonesia Jeet Heer reports.....open page here


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

 

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


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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Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory
Australia

PASLOIZOUPRESSDARWIN@bigpond.com

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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
V
iet 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
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