The Southeast Asian Times
NEWS FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA AND SOUTHEAST ASIA
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established 2000
Monday 15 April 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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Property developer sentenced to death for embezzling US$12.5 billion from Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank

Truong My Lan, 68, was sentenced to death for the embezzlement of US$12.5 billion from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) at the HCMCity People Court on Thursday April 11, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, April 15: The HCMCity People's Court sentenced Truong My Lan, 68, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group, to death for embezzling funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) for fraudulent property development, reports the Vietnam News.
The HCMCity People's Court handed down the death sentence to Truong My Lan, for the embezzlement of US$12.5 billion from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB), 20 years in prison for bribery and 20 years for violating banking regulations.
Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group chairwoman, Truong My Lan was ordered to pay compensation of VND673.8 trillion (US$27 billion) to the Saigon Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SCB).
The HCMCity Investigation Police Department for Corruption, Smuggling, and Economic Crimes (CO3) under the Ministry of Public Security found that Truong My Lan, chairwoman of the Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group, and 86 others embezzled, bribed and violated banking regulations, claiming that Truong My Lan, used the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) for fraudulant property development.
"Chairwoman Truong My Lan, directed bank appointees to provide loans to ghost companies that were established to embezzle funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) for property development by Truong My Lan's Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group,'' claimed the Ministry of Public Security
The Ministry of Public Security claimed that ghost companies were established to embezzle funds from the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) and that Truong My Lan, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group had appointed relatives to positions on the Executive Board of the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) in order to direct funds to the ghost companies.
Times Square Vietnam Joint Stock Company, chairman Eric Chu, who is the husband of Truong My Lan, chairwoman of Van Thinh Phat (VTP) Holdings Group, recieved a nine-year prison sentence for violation of banking regulations at his wife's direction.
Truong My Lan's niece, Truong Hue Van, CEO of Windsor Property Management, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for embezzlement.
The central bank’s department of inspection and supervision head Do Thu Nhan was sentenced to life imprisonment for accepting $5.2 million in bribes to conceal the Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) poor financial status.
The HCMCity People's Court sentenced several Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) executives, including Dinh Van Thanh, former chairman of the Board of Directors of SCB and who is currently a fugitive, Bui Anh Dung, former chairman of the Board of Directors of SCB, and Vo Tan Hoang Van, general director of SCB, for charges of embezzlement and violating bank regulations.
Capella Group chairman, Nguyen Cao Tri, who was found guilty of misappropriating VND1 trillion from Truong My Lan, was sentenced to eight years in prison for abuse of trust.
Other Saigon Joint Stock Commercial Bank (SCB) executives and government officials received sentences ranging from three years to life imprisonment for embezzlement and violating banking regulations.
In 2015 then Minister of Justice, Ha Hung Cuong, presented a proposed amendments to the Penal Code including the death penalty for seven crimes to the National Assembly in Hanoi, saying ''the death penalty should be maintained for those convicted of corruption.''
The proposed amendments to the Penal Code included the abolition of the death penalty for seven of twenty-nine crimes that carried the death penalty in Vietnam.
Crimes that carry the death penalty include murder, armed robbery, treason, drug trafficking, the sexual abuse of children, economic crimes and corruption including the embezzlment of state property.
The proposed abolition of the death penalty for seven crimes include the embezzlment of state property, the destruction of national security facilities, treason, crimes against humanity, war crimes and drug trafficking.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

US President says ''the US defence commitment to Pacific allies is ironclad''

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., left, U.S. President Joe Biden, centre, and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, right, at the White House in Washington for Trilateral Summit on Thursday April 11, 2024

From News Reports:
Washington April 14: United States President Joe Biden said at the White House at the inaugural Trilateral Summit with Japan and the Philippines that ''the US defence commitment to Pacific allies is ironclad,'' with China saying ''no one should violate China’s territorial sovereignty," said the White House in a statement.
The inaugural Trilateral Summit attended by the United States President Joe Biden, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida "is a potent response to China's attempts at intimidation,'' said the White House in a statement.
''The inaugral trilateral summit at the White House sends a message that China is the outlier in the neighborhood,'' said the White House in a statement.
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Mao Ning said on Thursday in response to the inaugural Trilateral Summit at the White House "no one should violate China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.''
"China remains steadfast in safeguarding our lawful rights," said spokeswoman Mao Ning.
United States President Joe Biden said that the United States defence commitment to Japan and the Philippines are ironclad, saying "they're ironclad."
"Any attack on Philippines aircraft, vessels or armed forces in the South China Sea would invoke our mutual defence treaty," he said.
He said that the United States is obligated under the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) to defend the Philippines from China's attempt to impede the Philippines from resupplying its forces on the Second Thomas Shoal in the West Philippines Sea.
"As I said before, any attack on Philippine aircraft, vessels or armed forces in the South China Sea would invoke our mutual defense treaty," he said.
United States President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed to strengthening defence between the United States and Japan at the inaugural trilateral summit at the White House on Thursday, with United States President Joe Biden describing the agreement as "the most significant upgrade in our alliance since the the inception of the US-Japan Security Treaty in 1951."
President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida agreed to strengthen defence relations at the trilateral summit, saying "the agreement was a strategic shift towards enhanced cooperation to address regional security challenges amid a growing China threat."
The agreement focuses on upgrading command and control frameworks to ensure seamless integration of operations and capabilities between the US and Japanese forces.
United States President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that agreement described as the "new era of US-Japan cooperation" is aimed at better countering an assertive China."
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 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
 

Human Rights Watch wants Indonesia to cancel proposal for military and police to hold civil servant positions

Indonesian Human Rights Watch (HRW) Executive Director Gufron Mabruri, centre, Sunday March 17, 2024 says ''the proposed regulation would restore the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia (ABRI) 1962–1999 dual socio-political function (dwifungsi) under President Suharto's military New Order (Orba) regime''

From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 13: Indonesia's Human Rights Watch (HRW), Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and Civil Society groups are against the proposed draft regulation that would allow active Indonesian military (TNI) officers and police (Polri) officers to hold civil servant positions in state ministries and institutions under the Aparatur Sipil Negara (ASN) or State Civil Administration, with Human Human Rights Watch calling on the President Joko Widodo to cancel the proposal, reports Antara.
Indonesian Human Rights Watch (HRW) Executive Director Gufron Mabruri called on President Joko Widodo to cancel the Ministry of State Apparatus Utilization and Bureaucratic Reform proposed draft regulation on the Aparatur Sipil Negara (ASN) or State Civil Administration, saying ''the proposed regulation would restore the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia (ABRI) 1962–1999 dual socio-political function (dwifungsi) under President Suharto's military New Order (Orba) regime.''
''The socio-political function (dwifungsi) was abolished in the political reform process that began in 1998,'' he said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) Executive Director Gufron Mabruri said that the proposed government regulation must be cancelled, saying ''the proposed regulation is contrary to the agenda of reformasi.''
Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) Executive Director Daniel Awigra claims that the Joko Widodo government is attempting to secure civil servant positions in state ministries and institutions for active Indonesian military (TNI) and police (Polri) officers.
''The Indonesian military (TNI) and police (Polri) officers can hold civil servant positions in state ministries and institutions under the proposed Aparatur Sipil Negara (ASN) or State Civil Administration on the pretext of maintaining security and national defence,'' he said.
He said that under President Suharto's military New Order government anyone who was against economic development was an enemy of the state, saying that ''the fate of civil society under the 'Father of Development' was unclear.
The proposal for active Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and police (Polri) officers to hold civil servant positions in state ministries and institutions was made by founding commander of the Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in August 2022.
Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Chairperson, Muhammad Isnur, said then that the proposal for active Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) officers and police (Polri) officers to hold civil servant positions in state ministries and institutions "show signs of the revival of the New Order (Orba) regime of former president Suharto."
He said that there are many policies by President Joko Widodo that show signs of the revival of the authoritarianism of the New Order regime, saying "efforts to militarise civilians through the Reserve Component (Komcad) system for state civil servants (ASN) is an example."
"This proposal poses a serious threat to democracy, a fruit of reformasi,'' he said.
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, proposed that active National Armed Forces (TNI) officers and police (Polri) officers be allowed to hold civil servant positions in government ministries and institutions, saying "active National Armed Forces (TNI) officers and police (Polri) officers should be assigned to government ministries and institutions at the request of the institutions and with the agreement of President Joko Widodo.
The Southeast Asian Times

 
Amnesty calls for evaluation of deployment of Indonesian military and Police in Papua and West Papua after video showing torture

From News Reports:
Jakarta, April 12: Amnesty International Indonesia is calling for an evaluation of the deployment of Indonesian National Military (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (POLRI) joint forces in Papua to be conducted by a joint fact-finding team after a video showing an act of torture that resulted in the death of a civilian went viral on social media and after the (TNI) said ''soldiers committed acts of violence against a prisoner'', reports Asia Pacific Report
Amnesty International Indonesia executive director, Usman Hamid, said ''there must be a sharp reflection on the deployment of security forces in Papua and West Papua in an investigation conducted by a joint fact-finding team.''
He said that the video that shows the (TNI) torturing a civilian who is placed in an oil drum filled with water, ''tramples over humanitarian values.''
''No Papuan should be treated inhumanely,'' he said. He said that the torture of Papuans by the Indonesian National Military (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (POLRI) in Papua and West Papua is repeated, saying ''there is no punishment for (TNI ) who have been proven to have committed crimes of kidnapping, torture and the loss of life.''

Amnesty International Indonesia says that the video showing the Indonesian National Military (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (POLRI) joint force torturing a civilian on Friday March 22, 2024 ''tramples over humanitarian values.''

ndonesian National Military (TNI) and Indonesian National Police (POLRI) Information Centre director Major-General Nugraha Gumilar said that ''rogue TNI soldiers committed acts of violence against prisoner, Definus Kogoya, at the Gome Post in Puncak Regency, Papua.''
He claimed that the prisoner was a member of West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), a pro-independence resistance group identified by Indonesia as an Armed Criminal Group kelompok kriminal bersenjata (KKB) or armed criminal group.
Major-General Nugraha Gumilar did not reveal the identity of the (TNI) soldiers who committed the act of torture, saying ''there was more than one soldier involved in the torture.
In May 2021 President Joko Widodo declared the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB), the armed wing of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) Free Papua Movement, a terrorist group following the fatal shooting of the head of the Papua Regional State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Brigadier General TNI I Gusti Putu Danny Nugraha Karya on April 25, 2021
President Joko Widodo ordered the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police (POLRI) to huntdown all armed separatists and terrorists groups in Papua, saying "there is no place for kelompok kriminal bersenjata (KKB) or armed criminal groups in Papua or elsewhere in Indonesia."
"I order the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) and the Indonesian National Police (POLRI) to huntdown and arrest all members of kelompok kriminal bersenjata (KKB) or armed criminal groups in Papua," he said.
The West Papua National Liberation Army (TBNPB), the armed wing of the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) Free Papua Movement, claimed responsibility for the fatal shooting of Brigadier General TNI I Gusti Putu Danny Nugraha Karya in Beoga district in Puncak regency, in Papua Province, saying that the head of the Papua Regional State Intelligence Agency (BIN) had launched counter -insurgency operations in Beoga district in Puncak regency in Papua Province.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand seizes carcinogenic cadmium waste worth US$26 million, arresting Chinese national

The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division seize 4,200 bags containging carcinogenic cadmium waste, weighing 6,720 tons, worth US$26 milion, in Chonburi province on Saturday April 6, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 10: The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) seized 4,200 bags containing carcinogenic cadmium weighing 6,720 tons and worth US$26 milion, at a warehouse in Khlong Kiew Subdistrict, Ban Bueng District, Chonburi province, arresting the buyer, Chinese national
Liu Lu, 38, reports the Nation.
Chinese national Liu Lu, was questioned at the Khlong Kiew subdistrict Police station, Ban Bueng District, Chonburi province on Saturday after the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED found that carcinogenic waste had been illegally transported from landfill in Tak province to Chonburi and Samut Sakhon Province.
Chinese national Liu Lu, said that he had bought the carcinogenic cadmium waste from Chinese national, Zhang, from Cin Hong Cheng Inter-Tech.
''A Thai named Kit, from J & B Metal Co, had sought assistance from Zhang to identify potential buyers of the carcinogenic cadmium waste,'' he said.
He said that Zhang, from Cin Hong Cheng Inter-Tech had offered to sell the carcinogenic cadmium waste at 8.25 baht per kilogramme, saying ''Kit from J&B Metal Co transferred the carcinogenic cadmium waste to the warehouse in Khlong Kiew Subdistrict, Ban Bueng District, Chonburi province.''
Chinese national, Zhang, from Cin Hong Cheng Inter-Tech, denied any involvement in the sale of the carcinogenic cadmium waste, claiming that he had temporarily stored the waste for Kit and did not profit from its sale.
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) said that officials are searching for the Thai agent named Kit and other suspects both local and foreign involved in the purchase and transfer of carcinogenic cadmium waste.
Thailand environmenta academic, Sonthi Kotchawat, said that the price of cadmium tailings on the international market is about
150 baht (US$4.1) per kilogramme, saying that ''one tonne of cadmium waste is valued at about 150,000 baht (US$4,132.00).
''The cadmium tailings can make a huge profit for Chinese investors,'' he said.
He said that the cadmium tailings are used in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries known as nickel-cadmium batteries (NiCd batteries) and are utilised in the production of paints and metal plates,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Australia, Japan, Philippines and United States maritime exercise in South China Sea 'went well' says president Marcos

USS Mobile (LCS-26), HMAS Warramunga (FFH-152), JS Akebono (DD-108), BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) and BRP Valentin Diaz (PS-177) conduct joint patrol excercise in the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone on Sunday April 7, 2024

From News Reports:
Manila, April 10: Philippines president Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said after six warships and four aircraft from Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States conducted a joint patrol exercise in the South China Sea on Sunday, ''the joint exercise went well,'' reports the Philippine News Agency.
Philippines President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said that the joint patrol by Australia, Japan, the Philippines and the United States
on Monday was the first Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity (MMCA) saying ''the joint excercises are very useful in enhancing interoperability among the allied countries.''
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr said that the interim reports that he has received are very useful, saying ''each navy knows how the other navy operates and the navy learns how to operate together.''
China also conducted patrols in the South China Sea on Sunday that include the West Philippine Sea with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr saying ''that's the usual reaction from the People’s Liberation Army.''
''It's only normal for China to respond to the joint maritime exercise by also showcasing its naval forces,'' he said.
In January 2022 then Presidential candidate former Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., said that the Philippines should continue to engage with China, saying he would dismiss any help from the United States in negotiations with China over the South China Sea if elected president.
"If Americans are involved in negotiations in the West Philippine Sea with China, it is bound to fail,” he said ahead of the Philippine Presidential elections .
He said that is was not feasible to seek to enforce the 2016 International Arbitration Court in the Hague ruling in favour of the Philippines against China's claim of historic rights over the South China Sea " saying ''China has rejected the verdict that the Philippines has sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea."
He said that the Philippines was not strong enough to engage in a defensive war with China, saying "China's incursions
in the West Philippine Sea is a problem between the Philippines and China.
"Going to war with China over the South China Sea would not be an option and should be considered a ludicrous idea," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

More than 11,000 tonnes of toxic cadmium waste missing from smelter in central Thailand

Ministry of Industry (MIND) Minister, Pimphattra Wichaikul, has instructed the Ministry of Industry (MIND) to establish a panel to investigate the mishandling of carcinogenic cadmium waste in Samut Sakhon and Tak Province

From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 9: The Ministry of Industry (MIND) Thailand is investigating the disappearnace of 11,010 tonnes of carcinogenic cadmium waste that was stored in a smelter factory in Samut Sakhon Province in central Thailand with the Ministry of Industry (MIND) in Thailand saying ''the figures do not match,'' reports the Bangkok Post
Ministry of Industry (MIND) Minister, Pimphattra Wichaikul, said that 2440 tonnes of carcinogenic cadmium waste was found packed in large bags at the smelter factory in Samut Sakhon Province on Friday.
Minister, Pimphattra Wichaikul said that documents show that 13,450 tonnes of carcinogenic cadmium waste was transported from Tak Province in northern Thailand to Samut Sakhon in central Thailand in August last year, saying 'the figures do not match.''
''The document submitted by a company in Tak Province to the Ministry of Industry (MIND) office in Tak Province shows that the company was seeking permission to transport 13,450 tonnes of carcinogenic cadmium waste from Tak Province to Samut Sakhon Province,'' she said.
Minister, Pimphattra Wichaikul, said 'the Ministry of Industry (MIND) office in Tak Province and relevant agencies have been instructed to investigate the disappearance of the 11,010 tonnes of carcinogenic cadmium waste.
''Ministry of Industry (MIND) Tak Province chief, Napat Techasiripat, has been transferred to the central office during the investigation,'' she said.
Minister, Pimphattra Wichaikul, said that she has instructed the Ministry of Industry (MIND) to establish a panel to investigate the mishandling of carcinogenic cadmium waste in Samut Sakhon and Tak Provinces.''
''I have ordered the 2440 tonnes of carcinogenic cadmium waste stored in the smelter factory in Samut Sakhon Province in central Thailand to be transported back to Tak Province in northern Thailand within seven days and buried in a landfill within 15 days,'' she said.
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej said on Friday that the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division (NED) found that the carcinogenic waste had been illegally transported from its landfill in Tak province to Samut Sakhon Province.
Commissioner Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej said the cadmium waste detected in the two provinces was in the form of dust, saying ''if exposed to rain or water, it would seep into the ground and become a carcinogen, a substance that could cause cancer.''
''Provincial authorities are taking action agianst Bound and Beyond Plc in Tak Province and J and B Metal Co in Samut Sakhon Province,'' he said.

The Southeast Asian Times

Thailand's Constitutional Court accepts Election Commission submission to dissolve opposition Move Forward Party

Former leader of opposition Move Forward party (MFP) Pita Limjaroenrat, left, and current Move Forward party (MFP) leader Chaithawat Tulathon, in Bangkok Wednesday January 31, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 8: Thailand's Constitutional Court has accepted a submittion by the Election Commission (EC) for the
dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP), giving the opposition party 15 days to file a defence against the claim that the Move Forward Party (MFP) is allegedly attmepting to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy, with Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulanon, saying ''the party has deferred electing new executives pending the Constitutional Court's ruling, reports the Bangkok Post.
The Constitutional Court that released the results of its initial deliberation on Wednesday, said ''the Election Commission (EC) claims to have evidence the opposition Move Forward Party (MFP) party has acted in a way suggesting it wanted to overthrow the democratic regime of the government with the King as Head of State.''
''The Election Commission (EC) agency claims that the Mover Forward Party's action was hostile and in violation of Section 92 of the organic law on political parties,'' said the Constitutional Court ruling.
The Constitutional Court said that the submission by the Election Commssion (EC) requests the Constitutional Court to disband the party and revoke the rights of the party’s executives to stand for election.
''The Constitutional Court is requested to prohibit Move Forward Party executives and those whose rights to stand for election
are revoked from registering a new party or serving as executives of a new party for 10 years, under Sections 92 and 94 of the organic law on political parties,'' said the Constitutional Court's ruling.
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulanon, said ''the party has deferred electing new executives pending the Constitutional Court's ruling, saying the Constitutional Court's ruling will decide the Move Forward Part'sy (MFP) fate over its effort to amend the Lese Majeste law.
Llast month he warned the Constitutional Court against involving the monarchy in political conflict, ''The Move Forward Party has no intention of overthrowing the Constitutional Monarchy,'' he said.
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulathon, said the party would present evidence and witnesses to prove that the Move Forward Party (MFP) has no intention of overthrowing the Constitutional Monarchy.
''The Move Forward Party (MFP) proposal to implement amendments to the Lese Majeste Law in Articles 112 and 116 of the Criminial Code and Computor Crimes is not intended to overthrow the Constitutional Monarchy,'' he said.
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulathon said that dissolution of the Move Forward Party (MFP) would not solve political problems, saying ''dissolution of the party may lead to the escalation of political conflict.''
Move Forward Party (MFP) leader, Chaithawat Tulathon warned the Election Commission (EC) against involving the Monarchy in political conflict, saying ''involving the Monarchy in political conflict is a very sensitive issue and should be treated with caution.''
The Southeast Asian Times

 

UMNO Youth leader arrested for sedition for calling for boycott of socks bearing the word ''Allah''

United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, was arrested and released on bail under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 on Friday April 5, 2024

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, April 7: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, who called for the boycott of KK Super Mart convenience stores for selling socks bearing the word ''Allah'', was arrested and released on bail on Friday, with the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) saying '' Dr Akmail Salle was charged under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for misuse of network facilities,'' reports the Star.
Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the largest political party in Malaysia,was arrested in Kota Kinabalu on Friday morning and released on bail, saying ''no fear, no surrender.''
''InsyaAllah, I will give my full cooperation,'' he said.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, who called for the boycott of all KKSuper Mart convenience stores for selling socks bearing the word ''Allah,'' called on his supporters to pray for him, saying ''we will not move an inch from our stance.''
Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) Inspector-General of Police, Razarudin Husain, said that the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) have conducted an investigation into Dr Akmal Salle for misuse of network facilities in his call for the boycott of the KK Super Mart convenience stores, saying ''a report will be referred to the Attorney General's Office when it is completed.''
"We advise the public not to raise issues related to the controversial socks as those involved have already been prosecuted.
Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) Inspector-General of Police, Razarudin Husain said "let the law take its course and let justice be decided by the courts," he said.
Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) director, Zaid Malek, claims that there are other laws to investigate (UMNO) Youth leader Dr Akmal Salle, other than Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, saying
'He said that Section 505 of the Penal Code that deals with statements made with intent to cause fear or alarm to the public is a another law that can be used.
''While it is necessary for police to take swift action against those who commit offences that disturb the public, we oppose the use of the Sedition Act against Dr Akmal Salle,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times

Presidential advisor wants ownership, management and control of public utilities reverted to Marcos government

From News Reports:
Manila, April 6: Philippines Presidential Advisor for Poverty Alleviation has called on Congress to include politcal amenments in the proposed economic amendements in the 1987 Constitution saying ''Congress should explore reverting ownership management and control of public utilities to the government,'' with Philippines President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. saying ''the planned amendments to the 1987 Constitution should be limited to economic provisions,'' reports Philippine Inquirer.
Presidential Advisor for Poverty Alleviation, Larry Gadon, said in a letter to the Senate and the House of Representatives, ''discussions on the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution presents a significant opportunity to consider changes to the political provisions in the 1987 Constitution..''

Presidential Adviser for Poverty Alleviation Larry Gadon with letter to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Monday April 1, 2024 calling for political amendments to the 1987 Constitution

Presidential Advisor for Poverty Alleviation called on Congress to consider the transitioning from a Predsidential to a parliamentary form of government in the proposed political amendments to the 1987 Constitution, with the Prime Minister position shared by the Senate President and Speaker of the House, saying ''Cabinest ministers would be appointed by the prime Minister.''
He said that certain political provisions in the 1987 Constitution have proven to be costly and redundant, saying ''amending them could lead to improved governance and greater benefits for Filipnos.''
''The 1987 Constitution could be amendended to include the extention of the term of local officials, members of the House of Representatives , governors, vice governors, board members, mayors, vice mayors and concilors to six years,'' he said.
''Cabinet ministers would be responsible for daily government affairs and subject to removal by a vote of no confidence,'' he said.
He said the President should be designated as Head of State, Commander in Chief of the Armed Frorces and Head of Foreign Relations, with the President having the power to appont mSembers of the Judiciary and Constitutional Commissions and who would recommend the removal of cabinet ministers.
''The President and Vice President should be elected as a single team, with the Vice President assisting the President,'' he said.
He said that the Senate should explore reverting ownership, management and control of public utilities including power and water to the government, with a transition plan to compensate private companies
He said that the proposed economic amendements in the 1987 Constitution that should include the repeal of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) ''that would allow the government to own and operate energy plants.''
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, said that planned amendments to the 1987 Constitution should be limited to economic provisions, saying ''this administration’s position in introducing reforms to our Constitution extends to economic matters alone, or those strategically aimed at boosting our country’s economy. Nothing more.''
''In any event, this administration is going to continue to push hard to attract more foreign investments to significantly help us achieve our ambition of upper middle-class income status by 2025," he said
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Forensic officer charged for changing speed of Ferrari driven by Red Bull heir in fatal hit-and-run

Royal Thai Police (RTP) inspect the Ferrari sports car driven by Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayuth Yoovidhya, in the fatal hit-and-run accident of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert on Monday September 3, 2012

From News Reports:
Bangkok, April 5: The Office of the Attorney-General ((OAG) filed a lawsuit against a former forensic officer who changed the recorded speed of the Ferrari sports car driven by Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayuth Yoovidhya, in the fatal hit-and-run accident
of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert in 2012, reports the Bangkok Post.
Lawyer, Paisan Chuarphon, for Chainarong Saengthongaram, filed a lawsuit at the Bangkok South Criminal Court against Office of Police Forensic Science former forensic officer, Pol Col Thanasit Taengchan, who inspected the hit-and-run accident in Bangkok in 2012 and later changed his statement lowering the car speed of Ferrari sports car driven by Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayuth Yoovidhya, from 177kph to 79kph.
Lawyer, Paisan Chuarphon, claims that his client, Chainarong Saengthongaram, was wrongly identified by Forensic Officer
Pol Col Thanasit for his involvment in forging documents, fabricating the evidence and editeding the audio record.
''The forgeries and fabrications and editing of evidence had convinced the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Public Prosecutors Commission (PPC) and the independent panel that Chainarong Saengthongaram took part in the tampering of the evidence,'' he said.
Last month the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged former attorney-general, Nate Naksuk, 71, former police commissioner, Pol Gen Somyot Poompanmuang, and six other individuals with malfeasance for assisting Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayuth Yoovidhya evade prosecution following the fatal hit-and-run accident in 2012
In July 2020 the Attorney General Office (OAG), Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk, withdrew all charges against the Red Bull heir after a new investigation found new evidence, that the Red Bull heir hit and run accident that resulted in the death of Bangkok police officer Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, was not caused by reckless driving.
Two new witnesses testified in July 2020 that the Red Bull heir drove a Ferrari sports car at between 50-60km/h on September 3, 2012, and that the motorcycle driven by the Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48, who was killed in the hit and run accident, abruply changed lanes and cut in front of the Ferrari sports car.
The Office of the Attorney General (AOG) Department of Appealate Litigation, chief justice, Nate Naksuk, concluded that "the crash was not caused by reckless driving on the part of the suspect, Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, and that the suspect did not commit an offence under Section 291 of the Criminal Code, act by negligence and causing death.
On September 3, 2012 Red Bull heir, "Boss" Vorayudh Yoovidhaya, then aged 27, was released on bail in Bangkok after he was charged with reckless driving, speeding over the limit at 177 km/h, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of the crime, causing the death of police officer, Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, 48.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wichean Klanprasert, who was driving a motorbike to early-morning sentry duty in Thong Lor, was struck by a black Farrari sports car driven by Red Bull heir "Boss" Vorayudh Yoovidhaya and dragged about 200 metres, died from his injuries.
Red Bull heir, "Boss" Vorayudh Yoovidhaya fled Thailand for Singapore in 2017 after he repeatedly failed to report to police to answer the charges.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Bangkok Criminal Court acquits yellow shirts of incitement in seizure of airports in 2008

Thousands of People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters or yellow shirts seized Thailand's two largest airports, the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport from November 24 to December 3, 2008 in effort to oust Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) known as the 'red shirts'

From News Reports:
Bangkok, Thursday 4: The Bangkok Criminal Court acquited sixty seven members of the defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) or 'yellow shirts' on friday charged with incitement in the seizure of the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in 2008, with the Criminal Court saying ''the gathering was held under the constitution,'' reports the Bangkok Post.
''The protest was peaceful and the protesters were unarmed, it did not constitute terrorism or public unrest offences,'' the Criminal Court ruled.
The Criminal Court ruled that the sixty seven members of the defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) known as 'yellow shirts had neither violated Section 116 of the Criminal Court nor the State of Emergency that was declared by then Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) known as the 'red shirts', at Thailand's two largest's airports.
The Criminal Court acquited the sixty-seven members of the defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD of incitement in the seizure of the at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport from November 24 to December 3, 2008, who were charged with illegal assembly, inciting public unrest and related offences for their involvement in the seizure of the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport.
The Criminal Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove that the sixy-seven members of the defunct People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD had committed insurrection, assaulted officials or obstructed officials from performing their duties, or illegally detained any official or disrupted a communications system or air travel services during the protest at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport.
People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) known as the 'yellow shirts' was formed in 2005 in opposition to the then prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, ruling People Power Party (PPP) known as the 'red shirts' .
Thaksin Shinawatra, who was overthrown a year later in a military coup, fled Thailand in 2008, leaving his brother-in-law, Somchai Wongsawat, as the prime minister.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protesters at the Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport in 2008 had attempted to keep the airport closed until the then Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resigned, accusing the Somchai Wongsawat government of being a puppets of Thaksin Shinawatra.
The Thailand Constitutional Court dissolved the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and two coalition parties in 2008 banning the leaders of the parties incuding Somchai Wongsawat from politics for five years.
The Southeast Asian Times

Second KK Super Mart that sold socks bearing the word ''Allah'' fire bombed
Home Minister, Saifuddin Nasution, urged the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to take responsibliy for the boycott of the KK Super Mart chain of convenience stores on Sunday March 31, 2024
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, April 3: A second KK Super Mart convenience store that sold socks bearing the word ''Allah'' was fire bombed on Sunday, causing a fire at the entrance of the store in Sungai Isap, Kuantan, with Malaysia's largest political party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) saying ''the UMNO will continue to promote the boycott of KK Super Mart convenience stores,'' with Malaysia's Home Ministry saying ''the UMNO should stop firing up public sentiment,'' reports the Star.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, called for the boycott of the chain of KK Super Mart convenience stores before the first KK Super Mart convenience store in Jalan Bruseh, Bidor, Perak was fire bombed on Sunday March 25, saying after the second fire bombing on Sunday March 31 ''we must remain calm and persist with the boycott.''
Malaysia Home Minister, Saifuddin Nasution, said after the second fire bombing at a KK Super Mart convenience store in Sungai Isap, Kuantan, on Sunday March 31, ''those behind the boycott should help mollify angry Muslims who were agitated by racial provocation.''
Home Minister, Saifuddin Nasution urged the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to take responsibliy for the boycott of the KK Super Mart chain of convenience stores, saying ''the UMNO should stop firing up public sentiment.''
Home Minister, Saifuddin Nasution said that the second fire bomb attack risked fuelling public unrest and there was genuine concern that irresponsible parties could repeat the same attack when Muslims celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfitri on April 10.
Royal Malaysia Police, Tapah district, police chief Supt Naim Asnawi said that statements have been taken from seven witnesses in the investigation into the first fire bombing attack on Sunday Sunday March 25, saying ''the fire bomb did not explode.''
He said that statements were taken from workers at the KK Supermarket convenience store in Jalan Bruseh, Bidor, Perak and members of the public, saying ''police are still trying to identify the suspect.''
''The CCTV recording at the KK Supermarket convenience store in Jalan Bruseh, Bidor, Perak showed a man alighting from a vehicle on the roadside hurling the fire bomb at about 5.35am,'' he said.
The KK Super Mart convenience store at Banda Sunway in Petaling Jaya, Selangor that sold socks bearing the word ''Allah'' has filed a lawsuit against the distributors of the socks, Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, for alleged breach of contract and sabotage for supplying the KK KK Super Mart convenience store with socks that the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) have deemed insulting to Islam.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam's Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank accused of embezzling funds for fraudulent property loans
Hanoi City Police, deputy director Major General Nguyen Thanh Tung says police are investigating the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) for funds used to raise fraudulent loans for property development

From News Reports:
Hanoi, April 2: The director of the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB), Thanh Xuan Branch in Hanoi, Bui Thu Hoai Anh, 40, was arrested on Tuesday for the alleged embezzlment of VND338 billion (US$13.6 million) from eight accounts, with the Hanoi City Police, deputy director Major General Nguyen Thanh Tung, saying ''police are investigating the bank for funds used to raise fraudulent loans for property development companies.''
Nguyen Thi Lan, 58, who opened an account with the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) in 2021 said that VND58 billion ($2.3 million) had disappeared from her account.
''The Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) said that the bank would notify me of the balance of my account at the end of each month,'' she said.
She said that her deposit had a term of between 1-4 weeks, saying ''if I wanted to withdraw funds at the end of the term or extend the term of the deposit I would have to inform the bank at least a day in advance.''
''I continued making deposits into the account after I saw that the amount deposited had been correctly credited to my account,'' she said.
She said that on October 7, 2023 she had VND58 billion ($2.3 million) credit in her bank account, saying ''I received confirmation from the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) of the balance in my account''.
On October 12, 2023 Nguyen Thi Lan, 58, said she visited the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) in person to request a bank statement, saying ''I found that there was only VND93,000 of the VND58 billion in my account.''
''I did not withdraw any money nor did I approve any transaction for the withdrawal of the money,'' she said.
On Tuesday the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) Thanh Xuan Branch, said the bank had received complaints from a number of account holders, saying ''the money in their accounts had disappeared.''
Hanoi City Police, deputy director Major General Nguyen Thanh Tung said that the Hanoi City Police had arrested the director of the Maritime Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MSB) Thanh Xuan Branch, Bui Thu Hoai Anh, 40, for the alleged embezzlement of funds from bank accounts to raise fraudulent loans for property development companies.
The Southeast Asian Times


Extradition Treaty between Indonesia and Singapore ratified by Indonesia
after 17 years
Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna Laoly, says 'Indonesia-Singapore extradition agreement is an extraordinary achievement of cooperation in the field of law and is a very important history of diplomatic success''

From News Reports:
Jakarta April 1: The Extradition Treaty between Indonesia and Singapore was ratified in the Indonesian House of Reprensentative last week, 17 years after the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) first refused ratification of the Extradition Treaty, Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and Airspace (FIR) agreements signed by former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2007, reports Antara.
Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna Laoly, said the Extradition Treaty between the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and the Government of the Republic of Singapore by the Indonesian House of Represenatives on March 21, 2024 ''has entered the Extradition of Fugitives into force.''
The Extradition Treaty that was ratified by the Indonesian House of Represenatives under Law Number 5 of the Ratification of Agreements 2023 on March 21, 2024 is the 12th Extradition Treaty ratified by the Republic of Indonesia.
The Extradition Treaty between Indonesia and Singapore follows Extradition Treaty's between Indonesia and Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Hong Kong SAR, the Republic of Korea, the People's Republic of China, India, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran.
''The Extradition Treaty between Indonesia and Singapore is a history of the success of Indonesian diplomacy considering that Singapore has only had a framework for extradition cooperation with certain countries and jurisdictions,'' said Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna Laoly.
''Singapore has only a framework for extradition cooperation with the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, and countries that are members of the Commonwealth of Nations,'' he said.
He said that the Extradition Treaty committs Indonesia and Singapore to legal cooperation in the repatriation of fugitives who have committed crimes to their home countries.
''Singapore's status as a world economic center was a consideration in the ratification of the Extradition Treaty,'' he said.
In 2007, the Extradition Treaty, Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) and Airspace (FIR) agreements that were signed by former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong were not ratified in the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR) .
In 2007, reportedly one third of Singapore's investors with net financial assets of more than US$1 million were Indonesian, with 18,000 Indonesians of total assets of $87 billion living in Singapore.
Singapore was then listed among 38 countries and territories not fully implementing global standards aimed at eliminating tax havens.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnamese chairwoman of HCMCity American International School banned from leaving Vietnam

Parents at the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) school in HCM City demand that chairwoman Nguyen Thu Ut Em repay their loans to the school Thursday September 21, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, March 31: The American International School Vietnam (AISVN) school in HCM City has cancelled classes for 1,200 students, with Vietnamese national chairwoman of the school board, Nguyen Thu Ut Em, banned from leaving Vietnam, reports the Vietnam News.
''The American Internationl School Vietnam (AISVN) chairwoman of the school board, Nguyen Thu Ut Em, was banned from leaving Vietnam due to a personal income tax debt on Wednesday,'' said the HCM City Municiple People's Committee.
The American International School Vietnam (AISVN) cancelled classes on March 18 after 129 foreign national teachers, 26 Vietnamese national teachers and 103 employees went on strike over unpaid salaries.
Two days later on March 20 up to 85 teachers resigned from the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) in HCM City.
School board chairwoman, Nguyen Thu Ut Em, claims that salaries were paid to 70 percent of Vietnamese national teachers in January 2024 and that foreign national teachers were not paid salaries for January 2024, saying ''salaries were not paid to Vietnamese nationals or foreign nations for the month of February.''
The HCM City Municiple People's Committee has directed the HCM City Department of Education and Training (HCMC DOET) to suspend enrolments at the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) for
2024 - 2025 and directed the Ho Chi Minh City Police to investigate the operations of the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) and investments in the American International Education Joint Stock Company of HCM City,
''Investment in the American International Education Joint Stock Company of HCM City has a direct impact on the operation and education standards of the American International School Vietnam (AISVN),'' said the HCM City Municiple People's Committee.
The HCM City Municiple People's Committee said that parents had proposed financial support to the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) school board chairwoman, Nguyen Thu Ut Em, for the school to continue operating until the end of the 2023-2024 school year.
''Investors in the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) want to recieve benefits in return for their investment,'' said the HCM City Municiple People's Committee.
''Investers want shares in the American International Education Joint Stock Company of HCM City,'' said the HCM City Municiple People's Committee.
On Sept 25, 2023 parents of students attending the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) in HCMC said they had signed a contract with the chairwoman of the school board, Nguyen Thi Ut Em, to lend the school hundreds of thousands of dollars interest free, saying ''the loan to the school was to be repaid in full within 90 days of their children completing 12th grade or moving to another school.''
Parents signing the contract understood that they would not recieve interest on the loan to the American International School Vietnam (AISVN) in HCMC but that in return their children would recieve an international education free of charge.
Van Phuong, said he signed a contract with AISVN's chairwoman Nguyen Thi Ut Em in 2018 to lend the school VND5 billion (US$205,000)
"My children moved in 2022 but the school has paid us nothing," he said.
He said that the school had promised to repay the loan twice, in January and May 2023, but has defaulted.'' he said.
"When signing the contract, I simply thought that my two children would get access to an international education free of charge if I lent the school the money, I did not expect the school to break its promise like this," he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand wants to swap made-in-China submarines for made-in-China patrol vessels and frigate

Thailand Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang proposed the exchange three made-in-China Yuan-class S26T submarines for a made-in China frigate and two made-in China patrol vessels in Beijing Wednesday March 27, 2024

From News Reports:
Bangkok, March 30: Thailand's Ministry of Defence wants to exchange three made-in-China Yuan-class S26T submarines for a made-in China frigate and two made-in China patrol vessels after the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) was instructed to cancel the 2017 contract for the made-in- China submarines with state-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) in 2022, with Thailand's Ministry of Defence saying ''Thailand has already paid a 7 billion baht ($193.7 million) instalment to China for the procurement of made-in-China submarines ,'' reports Reuters.
Thailand's Defence Minister, Sutin Klungsang, Royal Thai Navy commander-in-chief Admiral Adung Phaniam and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jakkapong Sangmanee proposed the exchange of made-in- China submarines for a made-in-China frigate and patrol boats to China's state owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) in Beijing on Wednesday, saying "we have made the proposed for the exchange to China and they are considering it."
''The procurement of the three made-in-China Yuan-class S26T submarines would be shelved for now and resumed when the country is ready,'' he said.
In April 2022 then Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha instructed the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) to cancel the 2017 contract with state-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) to build S26T Yuan-class submarines after a Chinese version of the German-made MTU 396 diesel engine was to be fitted in the three made-in China Yuan-class S26T submarines for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha saying "China cannot fulfil the 2017 agreement that stipulates the installation of German-made MTU396 diesel engines in the three made-in China Yuan-class S26T submarines."
State-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC), failed to obtain German-made diesel engines as stipulated in the 2017 contract with Royal Thai Navy (RTN) Adm Adung Phaniam, saying "China has given the German made MTU 396 diesel engine a new name."
The German government refused to sell the German-made MTU 396 diesel engine to China, saying " the German made MTU 396 diesel engine is designated military defence equipment."
The German government refusal to supply the German-made MTU396 diesel engines to state-owned China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) to be fitted in the S26T Yuan-class submarines built in China for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) was based on the 1989 European Union (EU) arms embargo imposed on China.
The Southeast Asian Times


Malaysia's KK Supermarket sues distributor of socks bearing the word ''allah'' for breach of contract

The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, calls for a boycott of the KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd, on Friday March 22, 2024
From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 29: The KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd that sold socks bearing the word ''Allah'' has filed a lawsuit against the distributor, Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, for alleged breach of contract and sabotage for supplying the KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd with the socks that the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has deemed insulting to Islam, reports The Star.
The KK Supermart and Super store Sdn Bhd at Banda Sunway in Petaling Jaya, Selangorthe has filed a lawsuit naming Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, director Soh Chin Huat Soh Chin Huat.
The KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd is claiming breach of contract and sabotage for the supply of socks bearing the word ''Allah'' after the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court sentenced Chiok Wai Loong, 35, to six month in prison and fined him RM12,000 for a facebook posting of the socks that were sold at the KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd.
Lawyer for KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd, David Gurupatham, said that his client is seeking RM1.5 million in compensation over the loss of income, RM10,500 for damage caused to the company’s brand name, RM20.3 million for the company’s aborted proposed stock market listing, aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages and other relief deemed reasonable by the court.
The KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd claims that distributor, Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd, director Soh Chin Huat Soh Chin Huat, delivered the socks bearing the word ''Allah'' to the KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd, saying that ''the distributors had deliberately sabotaged its business and destroyed its reputation.
''The delivery of the socks bearing the word ''Allah'' has resulted in a boycott of the KK Supermarket and negative comments from the public,'' claims the KK Supermarket Super store Sdn Bhd.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, called for a boycott of the KK Supermarket and Super store Sdn Bhd, for selling socks bearing the inscription ''Allah'', saying ''the boycott of KK Super Mart and Super store Sdn Bhd, would be a lesson for anyone who touches on sensitive issues involving the 3Rs race, religion and royalty,'' he said.
He said the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)Youth will continue to promote the boycott of KK Super Mart and Super store Sdn Bhd, saying ''the boycott of KK Super Mart and Super store Sdn Bhd will be felt by every layer of Malaysia's society.''
The Southeast Asian Times

Amnesty calls on Human Rights to review assassination of Human Rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib in 2004

Executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia and former member of the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF), Usman Hamid, called on the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia to declare the assassination of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, a gross human rights violation

From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 28: Amnesty International Indonesia has called on the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia to review the findings of the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) in the investigation into the assassination of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, who died of arsenic poisoning on a Garuda Airways flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore on September 7, 2004, reports Tempo.
Executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia and former member of the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF), Usman Hamid, called on the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia to declare the assassination of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, a gross human rights violation last week.
He called on the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia ''to review the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) findings as evidence that the assasssinaton of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, is a human rights violation.''
He said that the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) findings on State Intelligence Agency (BIN) Deputy Muchdi Purwoprandjono should be reviewed.''
''The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia should also review the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) findings on Garuda Indonesia Airlines pilot, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder of human rights lawyer,'' he said.
He said that the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) in Indonesia should also review the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) findings on former President Director of PT Garuda Indonesia airlines, Indra Setiawan, who was found guilty of complicity in the murder of the human rights lawyer.
''The facts found by the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) are more than enough to show that the assasination of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, is a gross violation of human rights,'' he said.
The Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) Secretary General, Bivitri Susanti, said that the assasination of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, should be declared a gross human rights violation, saying ''the assasination involved state officials and was carried out in a structured and systematic manner.''
He said that the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) has made no attempt to declae the assassination of human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 24, "a gross human rights violation,'' saying "on dozens of occasions we have enquired about what steps Komnas HAM has made towards declaring the assasination of Munir a gross human rights violation."
''Solidarity Action Committee for Munir (KASUM) have met with the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the Indonesian National Police and the Indonesia Attorney General's Office in order to provide assurances of human rights violations to the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM),'' he said.
Human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, who was founder of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence, or Kontras, and who revealed that Indonesian Army Special Forces, or Kopassus, soldiers had helped abduct 13 critics of the then Soeharto government between 1997 and 1998, was assassinated aboard a Garuda Airways flight while travelling from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore on September 7, 2004.
In December 2008 Former State Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy director, Muchdi Purwopranjono, who was formally Kopassus Commander Major General, and reportedly involved in an alleged “Rose Team” military campaign that led to the elimination of opponents of Indonesia’s “New Order” government, was found not guilty by three judges of the South Jakarta District Court for assigning an agent to poison the civil rights lawyer following the absence of key witnesses for the prosecution.
Dutch forensic scientists found that human rights lawyer, Munir Said Thalib, 39 had ingested enough arsenic to raise suspicion that he had been poisoned during his journey from Jakarta to Amsterdam via Singapore in September 4, 2004.
The Southeast Asian Times


National Coalition to Save Democracy claim President Joko Widodo violated democracy in general election

National Coalition to Save Democracy protesters at the General Elections Commission in Jakarta Monday Mar 18, 2024 claim President Joko Widodo violated democracy in general elections

From News Reports:
Jakarta, March 27: The National Coalition to Save Democracy set tyres on fire at the General Elections Commission office in Jakarta, at the results of the legislative and presidential elections, with National Coalition to Save Democracy spokesman saying ''We feel that democracy has been utterly violated by President Joko Widodo,'' reports Rueters.
The National Coalition to Save Democracy spokesman, Merry Samiri, called on the Indonesian parliament to remove president Joko Widodo from office for election fraud in the February 14, 2024 general elections, saying ''under President Joko Widodo's two-term administration democratic principles had been compromised and there has been a relapse in hard-fought democratic reforms.''
''Opponents to Presidential candidate Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, 72, a former commander in the Special Detachment 88 anti-terror squad in the New Order regime of former president Suharto, who won the Presidency and who is to be inaugurated on October 20, 2024, are contesting the results of the general election,'' he said.
Opponents, former Jakarta Governor, Anies Baswedan and former Central Java Governor, Ganjar Pranowo, plan to contest the results of the election in the Constitutuional Court, claiming ''widespread fraud including the misuse of state resources, intimidation, and vote-buying.''
''We feel that democracy has been utterly violated by Jokowi and we demand that the parliament remove him from office,” he said.
The National Coalition to Save Democracy claim pre-election fraud in President Joko Widodo's cawe-cawe or meddling in the Constitution Court amendements to the Election Law that allowed President Joko Widodo’s eldest son, to run in the February legislative and presidential elections.
Amendments to the Election Law were made by the Constitutional Court panel of nine judges including Chief Justice, Anwar Usman, who is the brother-in-law, of President Joko Widodo, to make the eldest son of President Joko Widodo eligible to register at the General Elections Commission of Indonesia as a candidate in the legislative and presidential elections.
The Constitutional Court panel of nine judges voted five in favour and four against to amend the Law on General Elections that would allow President Joko Widodo’s eldest son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 36, who is the Mayor of Surakarta city in Central Java, to register as a candidate in the legislative and presidential elections.
The Constitutional Court lowered the minimum age for presidential and vice presidential candidates from 40 to 35 years that allowed President Joko Widodo’s eldest son to run for President in the 2024 elections.
The Southeast Asian Times


Thailand PM dismisses allegations Bhumjaithai Party in collusion with operators of illegal casino

Bhumjaithai Party leader Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, centre, inspects the raided casino in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi on Tuesday March 19, 2024
From News Reports:
Bangkok, March 26: Pheu Thai Party (PTP) leader Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, has dismissed allegationts that Bhumjaithai Party Member of Parliament, Deputy Interior Minister, Chada Thaised, is in colusion with the Thailand operator of the illegal casino in Bang Yai district, Nonthaburi, that was raided by the Royal Thai Police (RTP) last week, reports the Bangkok Post.
Prime Minister Minister Srettha Thavisin said ''I think it is unfair to accuse the Deputy Interior Minister, Chada Thaised, of involvement in the operations of the illegal casino just because he knows the casino's Thailand operator.''
''Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaised deserves fair treatment,'' he said.
''We can know many people, but that does not mean we are involved in the wrongdoings committed by the people we know,'' he said.
''I will not interfere in this matter,'' he said.
''Illegal gambling is a big problem, It's against the law and is unaccepatable,'' he said..
Prime Minister Minister Srettha Thavisin said that is is the duty of the Royal Thai Police and relevant state agencies to conduct
investigations and find the operators of the illegal casino.
Royal Thai Police (RTP) former officer, Santhana Prayoonrat, said ''the alleged operator of the illegal casino claimed that he has known Member of Parliament for the Bhumjaithai Party, Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaised, for a long time.''
''The casino's operator expressed dissatisfaction that Deputy Interior Minister, Chada Thaised, had not warned him about the
raid in advance,'' he said.
Deputy Interior Minister, Chada Thaised, reportedly threatened legal action against the former officer of the Royal Thai Police (RTP), Santhana Prayoonrat, saying that neither Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin or the Party leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, Interior Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, had questioned him about the claim made by the Royal Thai Police (RTP) former officer, Santhana Prayoonrat.
Royal Thailand Police (RTP) Provincial Administration Department (PAD) inspector-general, Ronnarong Thipsiri, said that about 300 gamblers, casino employees and the Thailand operator of the casino in Bang Yai district of Nonthaburi were arrested in the raid last Tuesday night.
He said the Royal Thailand Police (RTP) found records showing that more than 100 milion baht in bets were placed each day, saying '' it is the biggest casino that we have raided.''
In August 2023 Thailand's pro-monarchy Bhumjaithai party that won 71 seats in the May 2023 elections and the Pheu Thai Party (PTP) that won 141 seats formed a new coalition party that exluded 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

Phnom Penh Court dismisses appeal against incitement by opposition Candlelight Party

Former Candlelight Party vice president Thach Setha 70, arrested for incitement on Tuesday January 17, 2023

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, March 22: The Phnom Penh Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal by former vice president of the dissolved opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Thach Setha, 69, against a prison sentence and fine handed down by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on October 18, 2023 for incitement, with his lawyer saying ''the accusations are politically motivated.'' reports the Phnom Penh Post.
Former vice president of the dissolved opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Thach Setha, 69 was arrested for incitement on January 17, 2023 for attempting to overthrow the Hun Sen government and for attempting to gain support from Cambodians to discriminate against the leaders of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP),
The Phnom Penh Court of Appeal upheld a three year prison sentence and a fine of four million Riel ($1,000) for former vice president of the dissolved opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Thach Setha, 69, who was arrested for incitement on January 17, 2023 for attempting to overthrow the Hun Sen government and to incite Cambodians to discriminate against the leaders of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP)
The Phnom Penh Court of Appeal presiding Judge, Sin Visal, said that the judgement made by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court
on October 18, 2023 to sentence Thach Setha, 69, to three years in prison and a fine of four million Riel ($1,000) was appropriate and had been made in accordance with the law.
“The Phnom Penh Appeal Court has rejected the appeal of the accused, Thach Setha, and has upheld the judgement of October 18, 2023 of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court,” said presiding Judge Sin Visal
Former vice president of the dissolved opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Thach Setha, 69, was charged with two counts of incitement to commit a felony or cause social unrest and incitement to discriminate under Articles 494, 495 and 496 of the Criminal Code, with lawyer, Son Chum Chuon, saying ''the court ruling against Setha was unjust.''
He said that Thach Setha has not committed any crime, saying ''the accusations are politically motivated.''
“What he said is historical and not political and not an act of incitement or discimination,'' he said.
The former vice president of the dissolved opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Thach Setha, 69 was found guilty of incitement for meeting with Cambodian workers in south Korea on January 13, 2023.
Thach Setha, 69 was found guilty of incitement for attempting to gain support from the Cambodia workers in South Korea, who were supporters of the former dissolved opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), to join forces with the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) to overthrow the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
Thach Setha, 69, was also found guilty of incitement for criticising the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) leaders at events organised by the opposition Candlelight Party (CP) on January 7, 2023.
The former vice president of the dissolved opposition Candlelight Party (CP), Thach Setha, 69, criticised leaders of the ruling
Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) for constructing numerous Cambodian-Vietnamese Friendship Monuments in Cambodia
claiming that the monuments showed the Cambodian subservience to Vietnam.
In October 2022 ruling Cambodia's People's Party (CPP) Prime Minister Hun Sen warned opposition political parties ahead of the 7th National Assembly elections in June 23, 2023, of associating with founder of the opposition Candlelight Party (CP), in exile Sam Rainsy, who is also the former president of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), saying he would dissolve political party's that associated with Sam Rainsy.
The Candlelight Party (CP), formerly known as the Sam Rainsy Party and the Khmer Nation Party, was founded in 1995 and merged with other opposition forces to form the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) in 2012 but was dissolved in a Supreme court ruling in 2017.
The Southeast Asian Times

 

Socks bearing ''Allah'' inscription posted on facebook deemed insulting to Islam

Chiok Wai Loong, 35, at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for a facebook posting deemed insulting to Islam on Friday March 22, 2024

From News Reports:
Kuala Lumpur, March 24: The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court sentenced Chiok Wai Loong, 35, to six month in prison and fined him RM12,000 for a facebook posting deemed insulting to Islam, with Chiok Wai Loong pleading guilty to posting a photograph of socks inscribed with the word ''Allah'' on facebook, reports, the Star.
Chiok Wai Loong, 35, was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for posting a photograph of a pair of socks inscribed with the world ''Allah'' for sale at the KK Super Mart convienance store at Banda Sunway in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Chiok Wai Loong, 35, apologised to the court, saying ''I didn’t mean to insult the religion of others.''
''It has become a hobby for me to surf the internet and leave comments on facebook,'' he said.
Chiok Wai Loong, 35, appealed for leniency and promised not to commit a similar offence in the future.
Chiok Wai Loong, 35, was the second person in Malaysia to be brought to court within two days for a facebook posting that was deemed insulting to Islam.
Ricky Shane Cagampang, 33, pleaded guilty in the Kota Kinabalu sessions court on Thursday to posting comments on March 17
on the pair of socks bearing the inscription ''Allah'' for sale at the chain of KK Super Mart convenience store on facebook.
Ricky Shane Cagampang, 33, was sentenced to six months in prison and fined RM12,000 under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for posting comments that were deemed insulting to Islam on facebook on March 17.
On Saturday the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Youth leader, Dr Akmal Salle, called for a boycott of the chain KK Super Mart convenience stores for selling pairs of socks bearing the inscription ''Allah'', saying ''the boycott of KKSuper Mart convenience stores would be a lesson for anyone who touches on sensitive issues involving the 3Rs race, religion and royalty,'' he said.
He said KKSuper Mart convenience stores should consider venturing into other businesses, saying United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)Youth will continue to push for the boycott of KK Super Mart convenience stores.''
''The boycott of KK Super Mart stores will be felt by every layer of Malaysia's society,'' he said.
Criminal Investigation Departmen (CID) director Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said ''investigation into the sale of the socks bearing the inscription ''Allah'' are complet and await instructions from the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC)''.
He said the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) is preparing to prosecute two parties under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.
''The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) is preparing to prosecute Xin Jian Chang Sdn Bhd., the distribution company that supplied the socks to the KK Super Mart chain of convenience stores, and the KK Super Mart convenience stores that sold the socks bearing the inscription ''Allah''.
The Southeast Asian Times

Vietnam's ruling Communist Party dismisses President for violation of Communist Party rules

The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) approves President Vo Van Thuong, 54 resignation from his position as the President of Vietam Wednesday March 20, 2024

From News Reports:
Hanoi, March 23: The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) dismissed Vo Van Thuong, 54 from the Presidency for violation of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) regulations at the extraordinary session of the National Assembly in Hanoi on Wednesday, reports Reuters.
The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) dismissed Vo Van Thuong from his position as President of Vietnam, as member of the Politburo Standing Committee, as chairman of the National Defence and Security Council for the 2021-2026 tenure and as a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) following the arrest and detention earlier of officials in Quang Ngai province for allegedly receiving bribes during the tenure of Vo Van Thuong as provincial party secretary 2011-2014.
The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) approved the resignation of the President of Vietnam, Vo Van Thuong, after a report by the Central Inspection Commission of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) alleged that Vo Van Thuong had awarded the Phuc Son Group Development and Investment Joint Stock Company responsibility to develop the Tra Phuc South Bank River Road Project.
The ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) said that reports from the Central Inspection Commission showed that Vo Van Thuong has violated Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) regulations on prohibitions for Party members, regulations on the responsibility of officials to set examples, especially members of the Politburo, Secretariat and the Central Committee of the Party, saying ''Vo Van Thuong, is held responsble as leader for the supervision over officials in Quang Ngai province during his tenure as provincial party secretary from 2011-2014.
''Vo Van Thuong's violations have negatively affected public perception, as well as the reputation of the Party and the state, '' said the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV).
The resignation of the President of Vietam, Vo Van Thuong, 54, on Wednesday follows the resignation of his predecessor former President of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, on January 17, 2023 with the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) saying ''President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, 68, is held responsible for causing serious consequences to the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) for allegations of bribery brought against state officials, ministers including the deputy prime minister for the organisation of almost 800 Vietnam Airlines repatriation flights for more than 200,000 Vietnamese citizens from over 60 countries and territories during the Covid-19 pandemic.''
The Southeast Asian Times


Australia and China can never step into the same river twice, says China

Australia Labor Party (ALP) Prime Minister, Anthony, left, and member of the Political Bureau of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia on Wednesday March 20, 2024

From News Reports:
Canberra, March 22: Australia Labor Party (ALP) leader, Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese said that ''the Australian Labor Party once made historic contributions to diplomatic relations between Australia and China,'' at a meeting with the member of the Political Bureau of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Canberra on Wednesday, with East China Normal University, Australian Studies Centre, professor Chen Hong, saying ''you can never step into the same river twice,'' reports Reuters.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that ''the one-China policy is the consensus of the two parties of Australia, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and the Liberal Party of Australia (LPA), and they will continue to adhere to it.''
''Australia has always pursued the one-China policy,'' he said.
''The current Australian Labor Party government will continue to make efforts to promote the constructive development of Australia-China relations,'' he said
The member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese that ''since the current Australian Labor Party (ALP government came to power, China Australia relations have achieved the second important transformation.''
''The transformation is fully in line with the fundamental and long-term interests of Australia and its people as well as the development trend of the current times.''
''History will prove this decision to be correct.'' he said.
East China Normal University, Australian Studies Centre, professor Chen Hong, said it would be difficult for relations between Australia and China to return to what they were previously despite the positive signals, saying ''you can never step into the same river twice.''
''The world is changing and the geostrategic scenarios are quite different,'' he said.
He said China understood that Australia was allied with the US, but Canberra’s pursuit of the Australia, United Kingdom, United States (AUKUS) alliance was a more direct challenge to Beijing.
''AUKUS as everyone knows presumes China to be the adversary, so by engaging actively in this pact, any country in that pact is positioning itself on the opposite side of China and is putting China in that adversarial position,'' he said.
“So that would of course definitely impact on China’s vision of that country, in this instance, Australia,'' he said.
Lowy Institute, Australia, Senior Fellow for East Asia, Richard McGregor, said ''China wanted to go further and add more ballast to the relationship,'' saying ''China wanted Australia to be more quiescent, or silent, on human rights and territorial issues like the South China Sea.''
He said that the Member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's meeting with the Australia Labor Party's (ALP) former Prime Minister of Australia Paul Keating in Sydney
on Thursday was not unusual.
He said that he former prime minister of Australia, Paul Keating, has been publicly critical of the Australia, United Kingdom, United States (AUKUS) alliance, saying ''it was not unusual for China to seek out old friends.''
''The member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi
could highlight the former Prime Minister's views,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times


Hong Kong passes laws to prohibit treason, secession, sedition, subversion against China

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, at the Legislative Council chamber after the passage on third reading of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance on March 19, 2024

From News Reports:
Hong Kong, March 21: The Hong Kong Legislative Council passed laws to prohibit treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Central People's Government, in Article 23 of the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in a unanimous vote on the 26th anniversay of the British handover of Hong Kong to China, with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, saying ''the passing of the law is a historical achievement that was overdue by 26 years,'' reports Xinhua.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, who was sworn in as the 6th Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by the President of China, Xi Jinping, in Hong Kong in July 2022, said ''history bears witness to this important moment.''
''The passing of the bill is overdues by 26 years, eight months and nine days,'' he said.
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.''
Hong Kong Chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, said ''efforts by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, the Hong Kong Legislative Council and many patriotic forces in Hong Kong drew a satisfactory conclusion to an issue that had long plagued the city.''
''Article 23 of the Basic Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)
will ensure a safe and stable social environment in Hong Kong, making the city more attractive to businesses and investment,'' he said.
John Lee Ka-chiu, 66, was appointed Hong Kong Chief Secretary of the vetting committee to screen out candidates deemed unpatriotic to China or a threat to national security in the November 2021 Hong Kong District Councillor elections
ahead of his appointment as the 6th Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) by the President of China, Xi Jinping, in Hong Kong on July 1, 2022.
"There should be no compromise on the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong," said President of China, Xi Jinping.
The Hong Kong District Councillor elections in November 2021 required candidates to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) that upholds the one country two system Beijing policy and to the ruling that allows only candidates deemed patriots to stand for election.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party, (CCP) candidates won all but one of 90 seats in the Hong Kong Legislative Council elections in November 2021, with the opposition Hong Kong Democratic Party (HKDP) winning one seat despite pledging allegiance to Beijing under the newly adopted patriot law that adhered to the one country two systems principle.

The Southeast Asian Times


Vietnamese deported without charge for illegal gold mining in Cambodia's national park

From News Reports:
Phnom Penh, March 20: Cambodia's Ratanakiri Provincial authorities arrested 26 Vietnamese for illegal gold mining in the Virachey National Park, deporting the Vietnamese with impunity, with the Cambodia Youth Network saying ''action taken by authorities against the illegal miners was very trivial,'' reports CamboJA News.
Cambodian Youth Network project coordinator, Out Latin, said the size of the gold mine is beyond the legitimate jurisdiction of artisan mining or small-scale mining, saying ''the Vietnamese were operating large-scale mining, not artisan mining or small-scale mining.''

Cambodian Youth Network project coordinator, Out Latin, said action taken by authorities against illegal miners is trivial
''Aritisan mining is smallscale mining and involves individuals, families or small communities,'' he said.
He said action against the Vietnamese illegal miners by the provincial authorities was very trivial, saying '''illegal gold mines could lead to the destruction of Cambodia's natural resources.''
''All natural resources are the property of the state and mining without a license is illegal,'' he said.'
He said the illegal gold miners had machinery stationed at the Virachey National Park for illegal excavation, saying ''foreigners coming to extract gold are deemed perpetrators,'' he said.
He called for stricter law enforcement to combat and prevent illegal mining, saying ''illegal mining is highly risky and environmentally damaging.''
''Most miners use cyanide to extract gold, polluting water and destoying biodiversity,'' he said.
Cambodia's Ratanakiri provincial administration spokesperson, Sou Serey, said the 26 Vietnamese entered Cambodia legally to work for a company that had obtained land concessions to develop rubber plantations.
He said that the company received an economic land concession from Cambodia to develop rubber plantations, saying ''the company changed to gold mining without an exploration license.
''The company wanted to do a feasibility study for gold mining instead, but the process was not completed,'' he said.
He said the company had been operating illegally for about two weeks before the Ratanakiri Provincial authorities arrested the Vietnamese, saying ''all mining operations have been suspended.''
''The machinery that was illegally imported has been seized,'' he said.
The Southeast Asian Times




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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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



What they're saying 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



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



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Oz $ buys
Updated daily.
Prices indicative only

US...0.7582
Brunei...
1.0310
C
ambodia...3,115.36
China..Yuan
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East Timor.
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Euro..
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Hong
sKong..
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Indonesia Rupiah
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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