The Southeast Asian Times
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established 2000
Tuesday 17 October 2017 
An informed guide to happenings throughout the region.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Banned ISIS flag found flying in Aceh

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Singapore passes Trans- boundary Haze Pollution Act

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

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

The Southeast Asian Times

Read the letters to The Southeast Asian here

Thailand to extradite Red bull heir charged with hit-and-run death of police officer
Vorayuth Yoovidhya, whose nickname is Boss, was allowed bail of baht 500,000, about US$16,000, at the local Thong Lor police station where he was charged with causing death through carelessness and fleeing the scene of an accident in September 2012
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 17: Thai authorities are preparing to extradite Red Bull heir, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, 32, who fled Thailand while on bail charged with the the hit-and-run death of a police officer in Bangkok in 2012, reports the Bangkok Post.
Amnat Chotchai, director-general of the Office of the Attorney-General's (OAG) International Affairs Department, said prosecutors were working with police and the Foreign Ministry to draw up the extradition request in English.
"A written request will be ready to send to the country that has apprehended the the Red Bull heir", he said.
He said that the Red Bull heir has the right to defend himself in a foreign court during his detention prior to extradition.
"This could take about 30 days, he said.
He said that the Office of the Attorney-General's (OAG) International Affairs Department is ready to take swift action, saying that the Attorney General wants the Red Bull heir to face prosecution in Thailand before the statute of limitations on the charges against him expire.
"We must try to avoid raising public suspicion that rich people can escape legal action in Thailand because that would taint the judicial process and scare off investment," he said.
Red Bull heir Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, charged with dangerous driving, speeding, drunk driving, fleeing the crime scene and causing the death of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, in Bangkok in 2012, failed to attend the prosecutors office in April, believed to have fled to Singapore.
He was charged in 2012 with drunk driving after his Ferrari hit a motorbike driven by police senior sergeant major Wichean Klinprasert.
The Red Bull heir, whose blood sample reportedly contained alcohol over the legal limit, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving and fleeing the scene of an accident.
The policeman, who was on his way to early-morning sentry duty was reportedly dragged about 200 metres, died as aresult of his injuries.
Police lieutenant colonel Pannaphol Nammueng, who was the immediate superior of the dead police officer, was accused of having produced the Red Bull family driver, Suwes Homubon, 45, as the suspect in the hit-and-run accident, was suspended for at least 30 days pending an investigation. The Southeast Asian Times

Government takes over Halal certification
From News Reports:
Jakarta, October 15: The Indonesian government has revoked the authority of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) to certify Halal products following the inauguration of the Halal Certification Agency, reports the Jakarta Post.
The inauguration of the government agency by Religious Affairs Minister, Lukman Halim Saifuddin, ends the MUI’s authority to issue halal certificates.
The Religious Affairs Minister said that the establishement of the Halal Certification Agency was based in Law No. 33/2014 on halal product guarantee.
He said that the Halal Certification Agency was not allowed to collect fees from business for issuing certificates.
“There will be no certification fee at all," he said.
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) deputy chairman Zainut Tauhid Sa’adi said that the MUI was behind the drafting of the Halal Product Guarantee Law and the establishment of the agency.
“Anything that relates to the protection and guarantee of halal products is now the responsibility of the government,” he said.
The Indonesian Food and Beverage Producers Association (Gapmmi) chairman, Adhi Lukman, said that
halal certification will give added value to the products on the global market.
"We hope the certification process will not add to the industry's burden,” he said.
In 2008 the House of Reprentatives approved mandatory halal food labeling in a draftlaw.
The then House religious affairs commission chairman Hazrul Azwar agreed with the Indonesian Ulema
Council (MUI) that halal certification should be obligatory rather than voluntary.
The Southeast Asian Times

Mother charged with selling daughter into prostitution
30-year-old mother and her accomplice 45-year-old karaoke bar owner in Kuala Lumpur charged selling a 14 year old girl into prostitution
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, Sunday 15: Two women charged with selling a 14 year old girl into prostitution face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, reports the Star.
Magistrate Keli Mareng charged the 30 year old mother of the 14 year old girl and her accomplice, 45 year old karaoke bar owner under the Child Act 2001 on Friday
The mother of the 14 year old girl was arrested last week after a village headman brought the girl to the police to lodge a report.
Sarawak CID chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Dev Kumar said that the village headman or ketua kampung brought the girl to the police after he learnt that the young girl had been working as a prostitution.
"The girl said she was forced by her own mother into prostitution" he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Cambodia rejects data that shows increase in deforestation
From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, October 14: Cambodia's Ministry of the Environment has refuted the US University of Maryland data that shows a loss of 30 percent forest cover in the last year, pointing instead to its own data that shows minimal deforestation during the same period, reports the Phnom Penh Post.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that deforestation has increased despite the governments "much-touted yearlong crackdown on illegal logging that was led by National Military Police Chief Sao Sokha.
The US University of Maryland satellite imagery reportedly gives a global picture and not a Cambodia-specific picture, showing the change in forest cover over the last 16 years.
Cambodia's forestry administration deputy director, Keo Omalis, said that there was a high rate of deforestation from 2010 to 2014 due to clearing for economic land concessions.
"But deforestation was reduced after 2014 to 0.67 percent annually", he said.
Cambodia's Ministry of the Environment denied the validity of the US University of Maryland satelite data saying that the University did not conduct on-the-ground verification of their claim.
Cambodia's Ministry of the Environment said that the US University of Maryland data that includes rubber
plantations, palm oil plantations and other crops is inconsistent with findings of Cambodia's team of national experts that includes three development partners.
Conservationist, Marcus Hardtke said the inclusion of plantations in forest cover evaluations had been criticised globally – pointing to a flawed association between forests and plantations.
The Southeast Asian Times

Muslim preacher arrested for sedition over Muslim-only laundrettes
Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin, was arrested for sedition on Wednesday for his criticism of Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, October 13:: A Muslim preacher was arrested on Wednesday for sedition following a religious lecture in which he criticisedl the Sultan of Johor for the ban on Muslim-only launderettes, reports the Star.
National criminal investigation chief Wan Ahmad Najmuddin Mohd said that Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin, a former officer with the government's Islamic Development, was in remand.
"He was arrested after summoned to have his statement recorded," he said.
The arrest of the Muslim preacher follows the Conference of Malay Rulers condemnation of the plan to establish Mulsim-only laundrettes.
The Conference of Malay Rulers said that the establishment of the Muslim-only laundrettes was "divisive and tainted the reputation of Islam" with the Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor saying that he could not accept "this nonsence".
"Johor belongs to Bangsa Johor and belongs to all races and faiths", he said.
He said that Johor is a progressive, modern and moderate state and not a Taleban state.
"As the head of Islam in Johor I find this action to be totally unacceptable as - it is extremist in nature," he said.
Muslim preacher Zamihan Mat Zin denied criticising the Sultan of Johor, with the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Organisation president saying that the Muslim-only launderette controversy was sparked by the sultan of Joho.
"It is not right for the sultan to say that the Muslim-only laudrette was nonesence," he said.
He said that the launderettes are meant to show that Muslims prioritise cleanliness.
The Conference of Malay Rulers that include nine state rulers and the governors of four states have reportedly supported Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor and the Crown Prince of Perlis, who ordered a Muslim-only launderette in the northern state to drop its Muslim-only policy.
The Southeast Asian Times

Call for security following deadly fire at KL Islamic school
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, Ooctober 11: Calls for improved safety and tougher regulations at Malaysian religious school were made following a fire at an Islamic school that left 23 students dead, reports the New Straits Times.
Two non- Muslim teenagers have been charged with the murder of the students for setting fire to the Kuala Lumpur Islamic boarding school, killing 23 students.
The teenagers, who were not students at the school, set fire to the Muslim boarding school on September 14.
The fire was started on the top floor domitory of the three-story boarding school where most of the students were asleep in bunk beds.
The windows on the third floor were barred by a metal grill.
The two teenagers charged with murder were part of a group of seven youths aged between 12 and 18.
Police said the teenagers who lived in the vicinity of the Muslim boarding school started the fire following an argument with the students
The Star reports that the fire that has sparked public outrage was the deadlietst of its kind in two decades
The Southeast Asian Times

Court relocated to high security laboratory
A Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) officer stands guard at the high-security laboratory in Petaling Jaya where the contaminated clothing of Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, accused of the murder of Kim Jong-nam, 47, are held.
From News Report:
Kuala Lumpur, October 11: The trial of two women accused of the murder of the half-brother of North Korea's leader entered its second week on Monday with the court relocating to a high-security laboratory in Petaling Jaya to view evidence believed to be contaminated by VX nerve agent, reports the Associated Press.
High Court Judge Azmi Ariffin ordered Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, charged with the murder of Kim Jong-nam, 47, the prosecution and defence lawyers to resume the trial at the laboratory in order to examine the contaminated clothing.
Government chemist, Raja Subramaniam, said in his testomy last week that VX nerve agent found on the womens clothing was active.
He said that he found traces of the VX nerve agent on the clothing worn by Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong at the Kuala Lumper International airport at the time of Kim Jong-nam's death in February
The government chemist confirmed that he found VX nerve agent on Kim Jong-nam's face, eyes, clothing and in his blood and urine.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, are charged with applying the banned VX deadly nerve agent to Kim Jong Nam's face at the crowded airport where he died within 20 minutes.
Lawyers for the defence argue that they were not aware that they had applied the deadly nerve agent to Kim Jong Nam's face, saying that they were the victims of an elaborate trick.
The defence lawyers argue that the women was recruited by a north Korean at a Kuala Lumpur Hotel in January to star in a prank show and were to be paid $100-$200 for each prank.
The prosecution says that they will present airport security videos showing the two women applying the deadly VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face, saying that the vido shows that the women knew they were handling a poisonous substance.
VX nerve agent is banned by an international treaty as a weapon of mass destruction and is believed to be part of North Korea's chemical weapons arsenal.
The Southeast Asian Times

ASEAN calls on UN for impartiality in human rights investigations
Evan P. Garcia, left, the permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations Office at Geneva, has served as the Permanent Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations Office at Geneva and in the Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Office of ASEAN Affairs
From News Reports:
Manila, October 10: The 10 Association of South East Asian nations (ASEAN) member countries including the Philippines and 18 other states have called on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to order its special rapporteurs and independent experts to conduct professional and impartial investigations in human rights abuses including extrajudicial killings, reports the Philippine Inquirer.
The call for profession and impartial investigations in human rights abuses was made in a joint statement at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that concluded in Geneva on September 29.
The Philippines permanent representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Evan Garcia, said that "certain UN special rapporteurs went beyond their mandates, delivering politically biased and unsubstantiated public statements and using uncorroborated and sometimes false information.”
“The Philippines attaches high significance to the work of the special rapporteurs and independent experts, and fully supports discussions to strengthen the integrity and credibility of the special procedures mechanism of the Human Rights Council,” he said.
In July 2017 Philippine represenatative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) ten member countries called on the legislators of country representatives to support president Rodrigo Duterte in his "war on drugs" in the Philippines.
Philippine representative of ASEAN , Pantaleon Alvarez, said then that he was concerned that the region "was becoming a major transshipment hub for illegal drugs" in his speach at the opening of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (Aipa) meeting held in Pasay City in the Philippines.
In May 2017 representatives of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met in Geneva to review the Philippines human rights record and called on the Philippines government to end extrajudicial killings and to withdraw its plans to reinstate the death penalty.
The Philippines is among 164 states that ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and as such is required to undergo regular review by the United Nations Human Council (UNHRC).
The review of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that includes the right to health and the rehabilitation of drug addicts was conducted by 47 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) member countries.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam warns of participation in China's One Belt One Road project
From News Reports:
Hanoi, October 9: Vietnam warned that country's should look beyond economic gain in their participation in China's One belt One Road initiative, saying that sovereignty and dependence on China should be considered, reports the Vietnam News Service.
Prof. Trinh Van Ðinh of the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said at an International conference held in Hanoi on Friday to discuss opportunities and challenges of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that "China's One Belt One Road initiative was like a snake shedding its skin to enable further growth and development"
He warned that China aimed to turn Vietnam into a "buffer zone" saying that "historically China attempted to achieve this goal through cultural assimilation and political ties."
"But today China exerts influence via funding".
Prof. Trinh Van Ðinh claims that China's One belt One Road initiative poses a dilemma for Vietnam, saying that economic gains would be "tremendous" should Vietnam join the "old silk road".
"But Vietnam would be sacrificing its territorial claim in the East Sea (South China Sea) dispute", he said.
Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam scholars said at the conference that protection of labour rights, the environment, transparancy and international dispute settlement mechanisms were concerns yet to be resolved in the thousands of related projects in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was launched by China's General Secretary Xi Jinping in 2013.
The initiative involves billion dollar investments in infrastructure in countries along the "old silk road" including new routes that are underwritten by China. China has reportedly spent about US$150 billion a year in the 68 countries that have participated in the project.
The Southeast Asian Times

KPK working on biggest corruption case in its history
From News Reports:
Jakarta. October 8: The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is working on the largest corruption case in the commmission's history, with allegations of abuse of power against former Southeast Sulawesi regent, reports the Jakarta Post.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has accused former North Konawe regent, Aswad Sulaiman, of receiving bribes in the issuance of unlawful mining permits in the regency between 2007 and 2014.
Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman, Saut Situmorang, said that the total loss to the state from the sale of nickel produced by miners who had been issued with unlawful mining permits is estimated at Rp 2.7 trillion (US$200 million).
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has accused the former regent of reportedly receiving bribes from eight mining companies for the issuance of unlawful mining permits.
The former North Konawe regent reportedly revoked the PT Antam in Langgikima and Molawe districts mining concession while valid, issuing 30 mining unlawful mining concessions in the district.
The deputy chairman said that the issuance of unlawful mining permits is "one of the biggest cases ever handled by the commission when compared with the high profile e-ID case and the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support (BLBI) cases.
He said that the e-ID case involved an estimated Rp 2.3 trillion loss to the state while the Bank Indonesia Liquidity Support (BLBI) case involved Rp 3.7 trillion in losses to the state.
Former North Konawe regent, Aswad Sulaiman, who was appointed the caretaker regent when it was established in 2007 and who was also a Democratic Party politician, held his position as regent of North Konawe until 2016.
The Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) was established on 29 December 2003 with the swearing in of five commissioners by President Megawatti - five years after Indonesia said that it had had enough of corruption and President Soeharto.
The People’s Consultative Assembly said in 1998, the same year that Soeharto resigned, that they wanted "a clean state administration free from corruption, collusion and nepotism".
Indonesia established - anti-corruption courts in 33 provinces in 2011 each with six judges with two of the judges attached to the higher court.
The corruption courts reportedly hold trial hearings with their secretariats at existing district courts.
The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand to extradite fugitive former PM Yingluck Shinawatra
Fugitive former Thai prime minister Yingluch Shinawatra with Queen Elizabeth II of England at Buckingham Palace in London on 13 November 2012
From News Reports:
Bangkok, October 7: Thailand is preparing to extradite fugitive former Thai prime minister Yingluch Shinawatra from London where she is reportedly seeking political asylum following a prison sentence handed down in her absence by the Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders last month, reports the nation.
The Thai Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced the fugitive former prime minister to five years in prison in absentia last month for dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy programme.
The former Prime Minister was charged with committing nonfeasance and malfeasance reportedly resulting in the loss of 518 billion baht to the state while holding the post of Prime Minister.
The former prime minister was found guilty of the alleged offences under Section 157 of the Criminal Code and Section 123/1 of the Organic Act on Counter Corruption 1999.
The former prime ministers was accused of colluding with two Chinese companies not authorised by the Chinese government to undertake G2G deals with the Thai government to buy rice from stockpiles generated by the government rice pledging scheme.
The former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied all charges made against her by the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) who voted unanimously in May 2014 following the declaration of Martial Law that there was sufficient evidence to indict the ousted prime minister on charges of dereliction of duty in the national rice subsidy programme.
The former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra fled Thailand in August ahead of the Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders ruling that sentenced her to prison.
The Southeast Asian Times

Identity of Kim Jong-nam, allegedly murderd at KL airport questioned

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, September 6: The identity of Kim Jong-nam, 45, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, allegedly murdered at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February, was questioned in the Kuala Lumpur supreme court, reports the New Straits Times.
Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) Forensics Department head Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood said under questioning by defence lawyer, Naran Singh in the trial of Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, accused of the murder of Kim Jong-nam, that he could not make a DNA identification of the deceased.
Naran Singh, lawyer for Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, accused of applying the banned VX deadly nerve agent to Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur airport asked forensic pathologist, Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, if he could be "absolutely sure" of the identity of Kim Jong-nam.
Forensic pathologist Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood told the court on the third day of the trial that began on Monday that the deceased was identified as Kim Cho.
He told the court that the identity of the deceased was made from the North Korean passport that was held by the deceased.
He said that he could not conduct DNA identification such as a DNA comparison with samples from Kim Chol's son because there was no DNA sample from his son provided.
"Only one DNA sample was provided and that sample was from the deceased", he said.
Lawyer, Naran Singh, who was appointed by the Vietnamese embassy to defend one of the two women accused, in questioning the forensic pathologis,t Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, asked if he agreed that he could not be absolutely sure of the identity of the deceased.
"Doctor, do you agree that you cannot be really sure that the deceased was indeed Kim Chol, as there was no next-of-kin," he asked the pathologist.
"I agree, replied the forensic pathologist.
The Southeast Asian Times

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


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


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


What they're saying open page here


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


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

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


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

Published by Pas Loizou Press Darwin Northern Territory


Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

East Timor.
Indonesia Rupiah
Malaysia Ringgit.....3.0900
Papua New Guinea
Philippines Peso..
Singapore dollar...

properties listed for sale in Myanmar

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

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

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

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

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

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

Court for construction
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

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