Major Developments in South Asia, Friday, September 25, 2020

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING OPERATIONS

1. Tamils in Sri Lanka to protest ban on memorial events. Tamil political parties will participate in a hunger strike tomorrow and have called for a complete shutdown of Tamil areas on September 28. They will protest against the government’s ban to hold a memorial for Tamil Eelam revolutionary Thileepan, who died on September 26, 1987. Several magistrates, at the request of the police, have banned remembrance of Martyr Thileepan who died after a hunger strike. A letter was signed by Tamil National Alliance, Tamil Makkal Thesia Kooddani, and Tamil National People’s Front addressed to President Gothabaya Rajapaksa. They jointly urged him to lift the ban on remembering Tamil Martyrs. However, there was no response from the President for the letter.

Background: Rasaiah Parthipan, commonly known as Thileepan, was a member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist Tamil militant organization in Sri Lanka.  He became the LTTE’s political leader for Jaffna peninsula. He died while on hunger strike, to secure a five-point charter of demands. This included the setting up of an LTTE-dominated Interim Administrative Council for the Tamil dominated province as part of the India-Sri Lanka Accord. A statue of Thileepan built behind Nallur Kandaswamy Temple was destroyed multiple times in 1996, 2007 and more recently by the army on March 21, 2010.

Assessment: Thileepan memorial events will likely see heightened tensions in Tamil Eelam regions of Sri Lanka. Tamil political parties may continue with the events in spite of a ban by the government. It is likely that Tamil protesters will face arrests for violation of the ban. Clashes between the police and Tamil groups are possible tomorrow. The issues of alleged discrimination against the Sri Lankan Tamils have largely remained unsolved. The re-election of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Podujana Party has strengthened Sinhala majoritarianism in the country. The Northern and Eastern Provinces continue to remain highly militarized with 16 of the 19 divisions of the Sri Lankan Army reportedly still stationed there. Routine and random searches are probable in Tamil minority-dominated areas.

Advice: Clients in Sri Lanka, especially in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, are advised to be aware of the political developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around protest hotspots. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

2. Protests planned in Karachi, Pakistan on September 27. The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) party has planned to hold demonstrations in Karachi, Sindh on September 27. The protests are scheduled to take place in the Shahrah-e-Quaideen area of the city.  The JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said that his party plans to launch a series of protests against the incumbent government’s policies from next month. Protest participants aim to denounce controversial economic policies of the government, as well as ongoing power cuts in Karachi, among other issues.

Assessment: The JI has a strong hold in Pakistan’s society, especially in the city of Karachi. The protest may see a large participation despite COVID-19 related restrictions on public gathering. Similar protests in the past have seen large participation. Protest organizers may likely mobilize support ahead of the protest. Opposition parties and its supporters may possibly join the movement to criticize the incumbent government. Authorities are likely to deploy additional security personnel to sensitive locations and along the march. There will be a risk of violence, especially if police personnel employ forceful dispersal tactics. The protest marches will also cause travel disruptions in the vicinity of the protest site. Further protests over these and related issues are likely to be held over the coming months. If protests are carried out, there is possibility of the emergence of a new wave of COVID-19 infections.

Advice: Clients in Pakistan’s Sindh Province, especially in Karachi, are advised to follow the latest political developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around government buildings, crowded districts and other protest hotspots at the time of the protests. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

Clients can contact APAC Assistance (iqueries@apacassistance.com) for a more focused insight on any issues that are critical to operations. An in-depth assessment can be tasked by our membership clients on any issue of concern.
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OTHER MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS

INDIA

1. The Ministry of Civil Aviation amended provisions regarding baggage limit on domestic flights yesterday, giving airline carriers the freedom to decide on it as per their internal policy. Airlines will now be able to reset the domestic check-in baggage limit back to 15 kgs.

2. Houses of 14 Christian families were allegedly vandalized by mob across five villages in Chhattisgarh’s Kondagaon district yesterday. According to witnesses, a mob of around 2,000 people attacked the houses as the ‘Christian families did not follow the local tribal culture’. They also thrashed members of the community in Kakdabeda, Silati and Singanpur on September 22 and 23. A police force was deployed to prevent further escalation.

3. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said it is necessary to ensure stability on the ground while India and China work towards ensuring complete disengagement of troops in all friction areas in eastern Ladakh. The MEA spokesperson said that disengagement is a complex process which would require mutually agreed “reciprocal actions”, and the way ahead will be to refrain from making any attempts to unilaterally change the status quo.

4. Several business groups welcomed the contentious and long-delayed labour reforms passed by the parliament this week. The new reforms are aimed at making hiring and firing workers easier and imposing restrictions on trade unions. Meanwhile, the All India Trade Union Congress said it will launch nation-wide protests against the labour code.

5. Indian Railways’ Central Railway zone began operating additional services of Mumbai suburban trains to the existing 355 services from yesterday. Central Railway increased the number of daily special suburban services from 355 to 423 to maintain social distancing and avoid overcrowding.

6. The Communist Party (Marxist) will hold rallies at 1,000 places across Kerala today in protest against the privatization of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. They are seeking to garner more opposition to the deal.

7. Approximately 30,000 contract and outsourced health workers went on strike yesterday in Karnataka. They demanded job regularization, an increase in salary, and job security.

8. The Election Commission (EC) will likely announce the schedule for the Bihar Legislative Assembly election 2020 today. The EC will hold a press conference in New Delhi at 12:30 PM (local time).

PAKISTAN

9. A fresh travel advisory was issued for international passengers to contain the spread of COVID-19 infections in the country: Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). According to a spokesperson of CAA, the new standard operating procedures will come into force with immediate effect and remain in force till December 31. Passengers shall be required to install the contact tracing ‘Pass Track App’ from the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. Meanwhile, passengers travelling from category B countries require a negative COVID-19 Real-time polymerase chain reaction not older than 96 hours prior to commencement of travel to Pakistan.

10. A low-cost Turkish carrier, Pegasus Airlines, will launch its flight operation to and from Pakistan. The Kurtköy-based airline’s first flight to Pakistan will take off from a Turkey airport today and touch down at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. Pegasus will operate four flights on the Pakistan-Turkey route in a week.

11. The Pakistani Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Nawaz Sharif banned members of his party from holding individual, private or delegation-level meetings with the country’s military leadership. Sharif said, if necessitated by national security or constitutional requirements, such meetings in the future will be approved by the party’s leadership and will be made public.

12. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement–Pakistan (MQM-P) staged a protest in Karachi, Sindh yesterday. They demanded that a new province be carved out of the present Sindh province for administrative purposes. MQM-P leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui warned that the party will hold more marches in October and November in order to mobilize masses for the cause.

13. The Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) arrested two suspected terrorists during a raid conducted in Dera Ghazi Khan in Punjab yesterday. The CTD officials recovered explosive material from their possession. The suspects had allegedly planned to target sensitive installations.

BANGLADESH

14. The government has approved more flights to Saudi Arabia so that Bangladeshi expats working in the country can return. Approximately 35,000 Bangladeshi workers are seeking to reach Saudi Arabia by October 17, which the Saudi government made the deadline for visa and work permits for Bangladeshis. Migrant workers have been gathering at the office of the Saudi Arabian Airlines in Dhaka to secure tickets.

15. Floods were reported in low-lying areas in Nilphamari, Lalmonirhat, and Kurigram, yesterday. The Teesta River is flowing above danger levels in some places. Thousands of homes have been flooded.

16. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) fixed the maximum interest rate on spending through banks’ credit cards at 20%, as per a circular issued yesterday. It will go into effect from October 1. Banks cannot charge more than five percent interest on top of the rate for a consumer loan. BB alleges that several banks are violating their regulations and overcharge interest.

SRI LANKA

17. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi will hold a virtual summit tomorrow. The two leaders are expected to discuss bilateral relations, including defense and security issues. This is the first virtual summit-level interaction by Prime Minister Rajapaksa with a foreign leader since becoming Prime Minister last month.

18. The owners of the New Diamond supertanker which caught fire with a cargo of two million barrels of oil aboard have agreed to pay USD 1.84 million for Sri Lanka’s help in extinguishing fire. The interim claim is for services provided by the Sri Lankan navy, air force, ports authority and Marine Environment Protection Authority after the fire from September 3 till September 15.

19. The Unemployed Graduates Association held a protest in Colombo yesterday. They demanded the government provide 10,000 jobs that were previously promised. Meanwhile, container drivers at Colombo port went on strike yesterday to protest against inefficiencies in the customs yard.

NEPAL

20. At least 11 people were killed in landslides in Syangja and Palpa Districts yesterday. Meanwhile, landslides disrupted vehicular movement along the Prithvi Highway at more than 15 places. Authorities are conducting relief operations.

21. Authorities reported at least 1,497 new COVID-19 cases in the country yesterday. The highest number was recorded in Kathmandu. Seven districts in the country have more than 500 cases, while six districts have zero active cases.

22. The Cabinet signed an agreement with Israel on September 22 which will pave the way for Nepalis to work in Israel. The first phase of the agreement will provide work to approximately 500 Nepalis, mostly in the nursing sector.

23. Dozens of people gathered to protest outside the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu over the alleged encroachment of Nepalese territories by China in the northern Humla district. It is alleged that China has illegally constructed around 11 houses on the Nepalese territory in Lapcha, Humla district.

Major Developments in East Asia Pacific, Friday, September 25, 2020

MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS AFFECTING OPERATIONS

1. Protests against omnibus bill held in Indonesia yesterday. Protests were held against the omnibus bill on job creation across the country yesterday. Around 3,000 workers protested in Karawang, West Java; 20 in Jakarta; 200 in Medan, North Sumatra and hundreds in Semarang, Surabaya, Bengkulu, Medan, and Makassar, among others. Activists had initially sought a permit for 30,000 people to rally in Jakarta but the police only allowed around 20 people to gather. Workers’ groups and farmers’ groups predominantly led the protests. They called for the withdrawal of the controversial bill. In Bengkulu and Makassar, authorities arrested dozens of protestors allegedly scuffling with security forces trying to disperse them. President Joko Widodo called on the parliament to finish deliberations on the bill by the end of the month or early October. Workers’ groups stated they would hold more protests.

Background: The Omnibus bill contains 15 chapters and 174 articles in total on more than 1,000 pages. It primarily seeks to revise 79 prevailing laws and more than 1,200 articles. The bill seeks to discard minimum wages and attract private investment. The bill also proposes to revoke protection for temporary workers to gain permanent status after two years of service and one year of prolongation. This affects job security and social security benefits such as pensions and severance pay. The Omnibus bill scraps the city-level determination of minimum wage, meaning that the lower, provincial wage would be the new nationwide standard. The bill has been opposed by labor unions, observers and non-governmental organizations who claim the bill would undermine labor rights, weaken environmental protection and only benefit employers and corporations, among other issues.

Assessment: The sustained opposition to the omnibus bill is likely to continue over the coming weeks, especially as the government seeks to formalize the bill into law soon. Further demonstrations are thus likely to be held against these developments across the country. There is a risk of violence from potential clashes between protesters and security forces. Protests may also disrupt travel in their vicinity.

Advice:  Clients in Indonesia, particularly in Jakarta and other major cities, are advised to monitor latest developments. Avoid all protest sites and public gatherings as a precaution. Adhere to the instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid travelling around government buildings, crowded districts and other protest hotspots at the time of the protest. Cooperate with the local police in case of road blockades. Prepare contingency plans for possible disruptions to supply chain, transportation, and business. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

2. Sabah state elections to be held tomorrow in Malaysia. The Sabah state elections will be held tomorrow. Voting in urban areas will run until 5:00 PM (local time), and 1:00 PM in rural areas. The Election Commission expects preliminary results to come out hours after voting closes. Seventy-three assembly seats will be contested by 447 candidates. At least 1.2 million individuals are eligible to vote. The Governor of Sabah called for snap elections after dissolving the state assembly in July. This was following claims by the leaders of both the government and opposition coalition that they had a parliamentary majority and could form the government. Health protocols for COVID-19 are in place.

Assessment: The elections are likely to be a close contest between the Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional candidates, who are each trying to form the Sabah government. The election will also indicate the coalitions’ support from the public on a national level. The large number of candidates may dilute bigger parties’ support bases. There is the possibility of arguments and low-level scuffles between supporters of opposing parties, especially at polling booths. Authorities are likely to increase security to prevent such incidents and also to enforce COVID-19 protocols. There is also the possibility of rallies and protests, especially as the results are coming in, which carry similar risks.

Advice: Clients in Malaysia, especially in Sabah, are advised to follow the latest political developments. Strictly follow the measures implemented by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Monitor advisories and alerts from APAC Assistance for updates.

Clients can contact APAC Assistance (iqueries@apacassistance.com) for a more focused insight on any issues that are critical to operations. An in-depth assessment can be tasked by our membership clients on any issue of concern.
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OTHER DEVELOPMENTS

EAST ASIA

CHINA

1. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong was arrested yesterday for “unlawful assembly” over a 2019 demonstration against a government ban on face masks that was imposed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The 23-year-old pro-democracy figure said on Twitter he was also being held for violating the anti-mask law, which has since been ruled unconstitutional.

2. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute said it had identified more than 380 “suspected detention facilities” in China’s northwest Xinjiang region. The number of facilities is around 40% greater than previous estimates and, according to Australian researchers, has been growing despite China’s claims that many Uighurs have been released.

3. The country will allow the entry of foreign nationals holding three categories of valid Chinese residence permits starting September 28, the Foreign Ministry announced. The new rule allows foreign nationals holding valid Chinese residence permits for work, personal matters and reunion to enter China with no need to apply for new visas.

4. Chinese media reported that the country has banned two Australian scholars from entering China. Professor Clive Hamilton and Alexander Joske would be refused entry in accordance with the country’s Entry and Exit Law. The ban came after Australia cancelled the visas of two Chinese scholars.

5. China reported eight new COVID-19 cases yesterday, compared with seven cases disclosed a day earlier. The National Health Commission said in a statement that all new cases were imported infections involving travelers from overseas. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in mainland China now stands at 85,322, while the number of total deaths remained unchanged at 4,634.

JAPAN

6. Japan and South Korea must cooperate to counter any threat from North Korea, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told South Korea’s president yesterday. In a 20-minute telephone conversation, , Suga also called for the two neighbors to repair their strayed relations. “I told President Moon that we cannot leave our current very difficult relations where they are now,” Suga said.

7. All Nippon Airways Co and Japan Airlines Co said yesterday they will soon resume some of the flights to China that they suspended after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The moves came as Chinese authorities eased restrictions on flights, the two carriers said. Currently, the two Japanese carriers have been only allowed to serve one route each for trips to and from mainland China. ANA operates between Narita and Shanghai, and JAL between Narita and Dalian.

8. The Tokyo metropolitan government yesterday reported 195 new cases of COVID-19, up 136 from the previous day. The tally brought Tokyo’s cumulative total to 24,648. The number of reported new cases nationwide was 472. Nine COVID-19 related deaths were also reported.

TAIWAN

9. The country’s main weapons developer announced yesterday it was conducting two days of live-fire missile tests off Taitung County. The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology said there was “no ceiling” for the height of the missile tests, while their reach stretched 300 kms into the Pacific. Defense experts speculated the tests centered on Hsiung Feng III supersonic anti-ship missiles or Sky Bow III surface-to-air missiles.

10. Three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies expressed support for its participation in the United Nation (UN) on September 23. Speaking via pre-recorded video, the leaders of the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Paraguay stressed the importance of Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN.

SOUTH KOREA

11. The country’s new COVID-19 cases stayed over 100 for the second straight day yesterday. The country added 125 more COVID-19 cases, including 109 local infections, raising the total caseload to 23,341, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

INDONESIA

12. Activists and workers held rallies across the country yesterday to protest against the Omnibus Job Creation Bill. About 3,000 workers protested in Karawang, West Java, 200 in Medan, North Sumatra, hundreds in Surabaya, East Java, and around 20 outside the parliament in Jakarta. Activists had sought a permit for 30,000 people to rally in Jakarta, but the police had only allowed around 20 people.

13. The Indonesian police have allegedly arrested about 200 demonstrators at different locations across Nabire regency. The United Liberation Front in West Papua said there had been a march on the local police headquarters in Nabire to demand those being held were released. The demonstrations were to protest an extension of the Special Autonomy laws, first introduced in 2001.

14. A coalition of educational institutions voiced its opposition to the educational provisions in the Omnibus Bill on Job Creation yesterday. The coalition includes the academic branches of the country’s two largest Muslim groups, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah. In a statement, the coalition said that including educational issues in the Omnibus Bill would risk attaching irrelevant baggage to education and could force it to disproportionately serve the demands of the market.

15. Papua Regional Police Chief Insp. Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said recent terror acts carried out by separatist armed groups have affected airlines’ flights. “Airlines are reluctant to transport the military (TNI) and police personnel, he said. He added that the armed groups issued threats that went viral on social media on September 19. “In the video, the armed groups said personnel from the TPNPB (National Liberation Army of West Papua) and OPM (the Free Papua Organization) will not hesitate to fire aircrafts carrying security forces.”

16. The General Elections Commission (KPU) has banned crowd-pulling activities during the campaign period in the upcoming simultaneous regional polls. The prohibition was arranged in the newly revised KPU regulation on holding the regional elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, signed by the commission yesterday.

17. The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) supervisory council has declared the commission’s chairman, Firli Bahuri, guilty of an ethics violation for displaying a “hedonistic lifestyle”. The council’s panel of ethics said that Firli had failed to show exemplary action in his daily behavior, as mandated by KPK Supervisory Board Regulation No. 2/2020. The panel also pointed out Firli’s negligence in recognizing that his attitudes and actions were inherent to and reflected his position as a KPK personnel.

18. The two provincial administrations in Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan have declared a state of emergency due to floods. Dozens of districts in the two provinces have been flooded over the past 15 days.

19. The Jakarta administration has extended large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in the capital by two weeks to further suppress virus transmission. Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan claimed that the capital had seen a decline in active cases since it reimposed the stricter rules on September 14.

20. The country recorded 4,643 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the national total to 262,022. The country also reported 128 new deaths resulting from the disease, bringing the death toll to 10,105.

THAILAND

21. The parliament voted yesterday to delay making a decision on whether it will amend the constitution, as demanded by anti-government protesters. The parliament opted instead to set up a committee to study the process of the constitutional amendment first. “The vote to accept a motion for constitutional changes is effectively delayed to November,” pro-government lawmaker Chinnaworn Boonyakiat said.

22. Thousands of Thais protested outside parliament yesterday as lawmakers debated amendments to the constitution. Protesters demanded a rewrite of the 2017 constitution.

23. The country began legal action yesterday against Facebook and Twitter for ignoring requests to take down content. The Digital Ministry filed legal complaints with cybercrime police after the two social media companies missed 15-day deadlines to fully comply with court-issued takedown orders from August 27.

24. The Meteorological Department yesterday said heavy rain will continue in the country until September 29. The rainfall has caused runoff and floods in several provinces in the North from September 23The weather bureau said that rain would continue due to a monsoon trough above the lower North, Central Plains and Northeast.

25. A Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) panel yesterday said the government should extend the emergency decree for another month. The decision will be discussed by the CCSA on September 29 before being considered by the Cabinet the following day.

26. The government yesterday reported two new cases of COVID-19, raising the national total to 3,516. Both patients are quarantined returnees from the US.

MALAYSIA

27. The King, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, reportedly plans to hold an audience with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim soon. Anwar claimed that he has strong majority support among lawmakers to form a new government. There is no exact time set for the meeting yet.

28. Foreigners arriving in Malaysia through various entry points must now pay the full MYR 4,700 (USD 1,127) fee for the mandatory COVID-19 quarantine, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday. Previously, both Malaysians and non-Malaysians were mandated to pay MYR 2,100 (USD 504) for accommodations and food for the two-week quarantine period at a hotel or in government provided rooms. However, foreign nationals will now need to pay an additional MYR 2,600 (USD 624) for operational costs. The government will continue to subsidize the operational costs for Malaysians, he said.

29. Malaysia confirmed 71 new COVID-19 infections yesterday as Sabah continued to lead the number of cases with 63. The Health Ministry reported no emergence of new clusters. It said only two cases were imported from abroad, while the rest were local transmissions. No fatalities were reported, which means that the COVID-19 death toll in the country remained at 133.

SINGAPORE

30. The city-state reported 15 new COVID-19 cases yesterday. There were no new cases in the community, the Ministry of Health said. Five of the cases were imported, all of whom had been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore.

MYANMAR

31. Over 220 factories in Yangon Region have filed for complete closure, temporary closure or redundancy starting from the end of this month, amid the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak. According to the list, there are about 40,000 to 50,000 workers who were employed by these factories.

32. The Department of Civil Aviation announced that international flights will remain suspended till October 31. The extension comes after the country began to experience a high resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

PHILIPPINES

33. Three government soldiers pursuing Islamic State-linked gunmen in Maguindanao province were injured when an improvised bomb went off in Ampatuan town yesterday. The injured troops were a part of the units pursuing members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

34. The Department of Agriculture said yesterday it had detected new African swine fever outbreaks in six provinces. New outbreaks have been detected in the provinces of Albay, Quirino, Laguna, Quezon, Batangas and Cavite on the main island of Luzon.

35. COVID-19 infected 2,180 more individuals in the country, raising the nation’s total caseload to 296,755 yesterday. The Department of Health also reported 36 new deaths resulting from the disease, boosting the number of deaths to 5,127.

VIETNAM

36. The country reported no new COVID-19 cases and new deaths yesterday.  The country’s tally of COVID-19 cases remained at 1,069 with 35 deaths.

PACIFIC ISLANDS

NEW ZEALAND

37. Auckland transport authorities are warning motorists of the possibility of very heavy traffic today caused by the closures of lanes on the damaged Auckland Harbor Bridge. In a statement, the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said traffic is expected to build up from midday.

38. The Health Ministry reported two new cases of COVID-19 today, including one community case and one imported case. The country’s total number of confirmed cases is now 1,473.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

39. Bougainville President-elect Ishmael Toroama is expected to be sworn in tomorrow in Buka. He said he will form a caretaker government and set in motion his plans for a “corruption-free” administration.

40. Prime Minister James Marape has pledged his support for Ishmael Toroama after he was elected President of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville yesterday. “In the coming weeks, I will meet with the President-elect to discuss the next steps with a view to convening a meeting of the Joint Supervisory Body to affirm our mutual commitment to peace and the way forward,” he said.

FIJI

41. The opposition National Federation Party (UFP) condemned the government’s decision to suspend its funding grants to the University of the South Pacific (USP). The government said it was concerned at the “lack of adherence to the principles of good governance” at the regional institution. NFP President Pio Tikoduadua said the USP was a legal entity, governed by a number of Pacific Island countries including Fiji. Tikoduadua said the government was legally obliged to fund the university. He further added that Fijian taxpayers’ money earmarked for the regional institution should not be withheld by the government.

42. Fiji is importing USD 46.2 million worth of rice every year: Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy. He said there was a need to double the efforts to grow more rice in order to reduce the significant import bill of buying rice from overseas countries. Reddy said, “There is no reason why Fiji should continue to import rice from Thailand or Vietnam.” He added that the country was operating at 17% self-sufficiency in rice production.

43. The Ministry of Health and Medical Services received medical supplies worth more than USD 700,000 from the World Health Organization yesterday. The donated medical supplies include surgical masks, KN95 masks, face shields, protective goggles, and isolation gowns to support front line

SOLOMON ISLANDS

44. Member of Parliament (MP) for the North Guadalcanal Constituency, Hon. Samson Maneka switched allegiance to the ruling government yesterday. Maneka was a member of the opposition group before making the switch. A government statement said MP Maneka resigned from the Solomon Islands Democratic Party and has joined the leading “Our Party”. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare welcomed Maneka’s decision to join the government during a brief meeting at his office.

NEW CALEDONIA

45. France’s right-wing parties came out against New Caledonia becoming an independent country, nine days ahead of a referendum to decide on whether to opt for full sovereignty. The National Rally cast doubt on the country’s ability to resist powerful neighbors which would use all means to get hold of its resources. The National Rally’s leader, Marine Le Pen, warned that a victory of the pro-independence side would lead to uncertainty, danger and tears.

TONGA

46. The government launched a new domestic air service called the Lulutai Airlines Ltd. on September 23. They celebrated the launch with the handover of an Air Operator Certificate at the Fua’amotu International Airport. Domestic air services started yesterday. The Prime Minister Rev Dr Pohiva Tu’oi’onetoa announced that the Lulutai would start its domestic services to Vava’u, Ha’apai and the Niuas.

MARSHALL ISLANDS

47. The government of Japan is planning to invest nearly USD 17 million in various development projects in the country. This includes expanding Majuro’s water storage capacity by 40%, a project that has been in limbo for over 15 years, despite strong support of both governments. The new water project will add 15 million gallons of storage capacity, increasing the reservoirs from their current 36-million-gallon capacity to over 51 million. The new reservoir will be built next to existing reservoirs by the Amata Kabua International Airport.

FRENCH POLYNESIA

48. A group calling itself the “Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi” was evicted by police from a land it had occupied at a marae (religious complex) in Tahiti for four months. Police moved in after the group defied last month’s court order to vacate the site at Arahurahu marae in Pā’ea within 48 hours. At the time, the court warned that each person failing to comply with the order would be fined USD 800 for each day of continued occupation.

GUAM

49. Governor Lou Leon Guerrero announced a slight relaxation of the territory’s COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions under the Pandemic Condition of Readiness 1 (PCOR1) measures. The PCOR1 will be effective from noon todayGuerrero said strict restrictions remain in place, including limits to the number of people allowed to gather and mandatory quarantine for all incoming travelers. However, retail stores, personal services, and outdoor dining can reopen at 25% capacity. Similarly, solitary sports will be allowed, and outdoor dining can also resume.

50. The Guam International Airport Authority Board board voted in favor of a contract extension for the corridor project at the A.B. Won Pat International Airport yesterday. A two-month “no-cost” contract extension was approved. A proposed change order fee of USD 688,211 for the contract with Black Construction Corp. for the refill replacement and replenishment of the argon gas fire suppression system and an extension of the builder’s coalition insurance were also approved by the board.

51. The country recorded 28 new cases of COVID-19 infections yesterday, taking the tally to 2,263: Joint Information Center. A total of 436 samples were tested yesterday. Of the 28 new cases, 10 were identified via contact tracing.

52. Dozens of people staged a peaceful protest outside the Marine Corps Drive in front of the governor’s office at Adelup yesterday. The group of protesters mainly consisted of restaurant and bar owners, small business owners and other concerned residents. They protested to express their opposition to Governor Lou Leon Guerrero’s directives to continue with COVID-19 related lockdown restrictions.

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIA

53. An environmental protest was staged in Sydney today, calling for the government to not go ahead with plans to build new gas power stations. COVID-19 restrictions limited the rally in Martin Place to just dozens of school students.

54. Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel are going to be withdrawn from all state borders except for Victoria, with states being told by the Federal Government to manage their own crossings. ADF confirmed it would not be extending agreements it has with Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory. There are currently 2,769 ADF personnel deployed around Australia as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist.

ANNEX A to Papuan Shooting Section Of Indonesian Semi Monthly Report (March 28 to April 10, 2020)

Synopsis of Freeport’s Security Management Plan

 

Throughout the mine’s history, PT Freeport’s CoW (Contract of Work) area has seen a regular series of violent incidents. At least six foreigners have been shot and five killed in the last 43 years. The most infamous incident involving foreigners was the 2002 shooting at mile 62 in which two Americans were killed. The military have accused the Papuan separatists of carrying out every attack that has taken place. The police have suggested in at least once incident (2002, at mile 62 where two Americans and one Indonesian were killed) that the military were behind the attack. Human rights workers and political observers and even at times the Indonesian press have accused the security forces of being involved in some of these incidents. However, members of the Papuan separatist groups have also claimed responsibility in a number of the more recent incidents. They claim that they are at war with Indonesia and Freeport’s CoW is the battleground. Their spokesman has stated that, “Any attack on the military, police or Freeport is from us.”

As a result of these incidents, Freeport has had to confront an unstable security situation. It is this need for security that has compelled Freeport to befriend the Indonesian military and police. It needs to be noted that Freeport is considered to be a “Vital National Object” which by law mandates military or police security. Until 2014, this role belonged to the military. Then a presidential order in 2014 tasked the police with the role. However, Freeport and the military signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2019 in which the security role was returned to the military. Up until April 1999, the police were a branch under the military. In 1999, they became their own separate service. Since 1999, there has been competition between the police and the military for control of national resources. Under the current president Joko Widodo’s government, the police have generally been favored over the military.

A report issued in the New York Times in 2007 claims that from 1998 through 2004, Freeport gave military and police generals, colonels, majors and captains, and military units, nearly USD 20 million. Individual commanders received tens of thousands of dollars, in one case up to USD 150,000, according to the documents. These documents were allegedly provided by an individual close to Freeport and confirmed as authentic by current and former employees. A former company official told the Times that in 1998 Chairman of the Freeport board, Mr. Moffett, met with a group of senior Indonesian military officers at the Sheraton Hotel in the lowland town of Timika, near the mine. General Prabowo Subianto, son-in-law of President Suharto and commander of the Indonesian Special Forces, presided. “Mr. Moffett, to protect you, to protect your company, you have to help the military here,” General Prabowo began, according to the company employee who was present.

Mr. Moffett is said to have replied: “Just tell me what I need to do.” Each military service drew up its wish list, current and former company employees said. In short order, Freeport spent USD 35 million on military infrastructure – barracks, headquarters, mess halls, roads – and it also gave the commanders 70 Land Rovers and Land Cruisers, which were replaced every few years.

Freeport started making direct monthly payments to Indonesian military commanders, while the Security Risk Management office handled the payments to the police, according to company documents and current and former employees. In interviews, current and former employees said that at least an additional USD 10 million was also paid during those years (1998-2004). The records show that the largest recipient was the commander of the troops in the Freeport area, Lt. Col. Togap F. Gultom.

During six months in 2001, Lt. Col. Togap F. Gultom was given just under USD 100,000 for “food costs,” according to the company records, and more than USD 150,000 the following year. Freeport gave at least 10 other commanders a total of more than USD 350,000 for “food costs” in 2002, according to the records. Freeport also gave commanders commercial airplane tickets for themselves and their wives and children. Generals flew first or business class and lower ranking officers flew economy, said Brig. Gen. Ramizan Tarigan, who received USD 14,000 worth of tickets in 2002 for himself and his family. In April 2002, the company gave the senior commander of forces in Papua, Maj. Gen. Mahidin Simbolon, more than USD 64,000, for what was described in Freeport’s books as “fund for military project plan 2002.” Eight months later, in December, he was given more than USD 67,000 for a “humanitarian civic action project.” The payments were first reported by Global Witness. The police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB), a paramilitary force received more than USD 200,000 in 2003. In later filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freeport reported that it had paid the military a total of USD 4.7 million in 2001, and USD 5.6 million in 2002. More recent data is not available.

Historical Security Incident List

Below is a non-exhaustive list of similar major incidents in and around the Freeport operational area over the last 43 years[1]:

1977:

  • Aerial bombing of Akimuga (Freeport mine area) by Indonesian air force to suppress independence movement and protect Freeport. The attack was allegedly in response to local’s attack on the mine;

1994:

  • March – A Freeport employee was shot and killed on the road near Mile 62. An Australian employee was shot and wounded in the same incident. Armed forces battalions 752 and 733 were accused by human rights groups of posing as a TPN/OPM (Papuan armed separatists) unit and carrying out the attack. The military claimed it was the OPM/TPN;

1996:

  • January – OPM militants led by Kelly Kwalik held 26 members of the Lorentz Expedition; hostage in Mapenduma (borders Mimika). This triggered the Mapenduma hostage crisis;
  • March – Riots in Timika and Tembagapura by local dissatisfied Papuans upset with Freeport policies. Military is accused by locals of instigating the riots;
  • April – A shooting took place in a hangar at Timika airport by a soldier run amok. Sixteen people were killed including a New Zealander;
  • May – Mapenduma hostage crisis ended with the raid on OPM base in Geselama, Mimika, two hostages died following the KOPASSUS – Indonesian Special Forces – raid;

2001:

  • December – Two Freeport environmental unit employees were shot at the Grasberg mine site. No investigation into the attack was conducted. The shootings were reportedly carried out by unidentified gunmen wearing military uniforms;

2002:

  • April – Kopassus attacked Papuan civilians in the lowland hamlet of Kali Kopi in which one civilian was killed and seven others were arrested and allegedly tortured;
  • May – Five to seven alleged Papuans holding axes and one revolver attacked Freeport security guards at the main office building. They threw Molotov cocktails;
  • August – Gunmen attacked a group of American school teachers and local employees traveling between the lowlands and highlands. Two Americans and one Indonesian were killed, and seven Americans and an Indonesian were wounded. Indonesian officials placed responsibility on the OPM (Papuan Separatist Group). A spokesman for the group denied involvement. Elements within the military have also been accused of being involved;

2006:

  • March – Three policemen and an airman were killed and 24 other people injured during a clash with Papuan students who had been demanding closure of Freeport’s Grasberg mine;

2009:

  • March – One Indonesian army soldier was killed during an attack against a security post in Tingginambut Puncak Jaya regency, borders Mimika regency). The OPM was blamed;
  • April – An attack against a convoy of police in Tingginambut killed one and wounded six. The OPM was blamed;
  • July – Freeport employee (Australian) was shot dead in his vehicle in an attack on the Freeport road when in transit. An Indonesian Freeport security guard was also killed. Several people were injured. Some elements in Indonesian media suggested military/police involvement;
  • December – The OPM leader Kelly Kwalik was shot by Indonesian police during a raid in Timika and died in Timika Hospital;

2010:

  • January – Unknown assailants ambushed a convoy traversing the Freeport road. Nine people were injured. The OPM denied responsibility;
  • March – Unconfirmed reports from locals of multiple shooting incidents in and around the Freeport mining concession;
  • March – Rebels attacked an Indonesian military convoy, injuring some of the soldiers;

2011-2016:

  • Multiple incidents between OPM and security forces in Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya and Intan Jaya regencies on Mimika borders;
  • April (2011) – Two Freeport employees were killed when the company car they were traveling in caught fire. Bullets were found inside the car, giving weight to the suspicion that the car was fired upon by unknown gunmen;

2017:

  • September – Freeport vehicles fired upon;
  • October – BRIMOB (Armed Police Brigade) officer was shot and killed in Mimika. A West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB) unit claimed responsibility;
  • November – Hostage incident in Banti/Kimbeli villages (Tembagapura). The military claimed that migrant workers from Indonesia’s Sulawesi island villages were being held hostage by the TPNPB which was disputed by a number of observers. Eventually. Indonesian police and military evacuated more than 340 Sulawesi migrants from the villages. The police stated there was an exchange of gunfire with the TPNPB. Freeport began evacuating mine workers families from the mining town of Tembagapura. Shots had been fired on a Freeport vehicle and two large mining trucks set on fire;
  • November – A BRIMOB officer was shot and killed in Mimika with an TPNPB unit taking responsibility. Two TPNPB were injured in gunfire. Freeport temporarily shut the main supply route to its Grasberg mine complex. A civilian employee of a catering service provider within Freeport died in suspicious circumstances whilst traveling to his village;

2018:

  • July – A series of gunfights were reported between the TPNPB and Indonesian security forces in Freeport area. No casualties were reported;
  • July – Increasing unrest and incidents in Nduga, Puncak Jaya, Lanny Jaya and Intan Jaya regencies on Mimika borders;
  • December – Construction crew working on a bridge in the Nduga regency was attacked and at least 21 were killed;

2019:

  • January – Police arrested and charged three members of the West Papua National Committee (KNPB) with treason. They were arrested in Timika following a joint army-police raid on the KNPB headquarters;
  • November – Alleged Papuan gunmen fired at an escort car owned by PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) in Mimika around Mile 60. The expat driver and two Indonesian passengers were unscathed;

2020:

  • January – Several buses transporting employees of PT Freeport Indonesia were fired upon in another shooting by unknown attackers, believed to be Papuan separatists. The convoy of vehicles was fired at around Mile 53 between Tembagapura and Timika;
  • February – There was a clash between the security forces and a group of Papuans allegedly led by Joni Botak in Jipabera, Tembagapura Subdistrict, in Mimika District. A police officer from the mobile brigade unit was wounded in the gunfight and later died of his injuries;
  • March – A Tembagapura Sector Police car was attacked in Utikini village, Mimika Regency. The TPNPB also reported destroying a bridge on the road from Tembagapura to Opitawak that month;
  • March – A shootout between the TPNPB and the Indonesian Security Forces took place at the military Post in Opitawak village. The TPNPB claimed killing five members of the Indonesian Security Forces. These claims have been denied by the military. Reports from the area claim that 800-900 villagers from Longsoran, Batu Besar and Kimbeli villages have evacuated to a police headquarters in Tembagapura on Friday March 6 because of these incidents. At least 2,000 village refugees are now reported to be in Timika;
  • March – The military reported a fatality when one of their soldiers was shot dead while at Islamic morning prayers;
  • March – Four alleged Papuan seperatists were allegedly killed in an incident near the Freeport mine in Mimika regency. A firefight apparently took place in Kali Bua village in Mimika district near the mining town of Tembagapura between security forces and a rebel group;
  • March – A New Zealand national with gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia was killed in a shooting incident in Kuala Kencana, Mimika.

 

[1]         Data has been compiled from the APAC database, ELSAM Indonesia <www.elsam.or.id/id> and ELSHAM Papua <https://www.ictj.org/sites/default/files/ICTJ-ELSHAM-Indonesia-Papua-2012-English.pdf>

List of our Special Assessment Report produced in 2018-19

Report

Location

Date

India-Pakistan Security Assessment Report: Special status of Jammu and Kashmir revoked India & Pakistan 14-Aug-19
Thailand Security Assessment Report: Multiple Bomb Blasts in Bangkok Thailand 9-Aug-19
Special Security Assessment Report: Hong Kong Extradition Protests Hong Kong 7-Aug-19
Indonesia post election security assessment Indonesia 22-May-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Post-Election Uncertainties Thailand 14-May-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment: Sri Lanka remains on high alert under emergency laws Sri Lanka 3-May-19
(Update) Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 300 people Sri Lanka 23-Apr-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Multiple bomb blasts kill more than 290 people Sri Lanka 22-Apr-19
India Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 India 19-Mar-19
India-Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Diplomatic Tensions Persist After Pulwama Attack India & Pakistan 8-Mar-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 – Implications and outlook Thailand 5-Mar-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Conflicts within the ruling coalition Malaysia 18-Feb-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Princess disqualified from elections Thailand 12-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: General Elections 2019 Indonesia 12-Feb-19
India Country Assessment Report: Government proposed interim budget India 6-Feb-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: New autonomous law faces early challenges Philippines 1-Feb-19
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prison sentence for hate speech Indonesia 30-Jan-19
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Twin bomb blasts in Jolo Philippines 28-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Political parties issue statements on Section 44 Thailand 25-Jan-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Corruption pervades politics and business Indonesia 24-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Islamist militants arrested Bangladesh 22-Jan-18
India Country Assessment Report: Political turmoil in Karnataka India 21-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: GDP growth rate revised Timor Leste 18-Jan-19
Timor Leste Country Assessment Report: Political jostle continues Timor Leste 16-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Government pulls out of IMF package Pakistan 14-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Tensions rise over election delay Thailand 14-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Strike continues in Mumbai India 11-Jan-19
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Negotiations with the IMF expected to restart Sri Lanka 10-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Garment workers continue protests Bangladesh 9-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: An analysis of the upcoming elections Thailand 9-Jan-19
India Country Assessment report: Two-day nationwide strike India 8-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Allied parties excluded from the new cabinet Bangladesh 7-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Political rallies planned in West Bengal India 5-Jan-19
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Members of parliament sworn-in Bangladesh 4-Jan-19
India Country Assessment Report: Violent clashes reported in Kerala India 3-Jan-19
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence reported Thailand 3-Jan-19
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Security situation continues to deteriorate Pakistan 2-Jan-19
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: PPBM promotes self as protector of Malays Malaysia 31-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Awami League wins the elections Bangladesh 31-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Anti-terrorism operation announced Pakistan 28-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: 2018 GDP growth tops 7% Vietnam 28-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Islamic State terror plot foiled India 27-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Judicial impartiality praised Sri Lanka 26-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Nawaz Sharif convicted on corruption charges Pakistan 25-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Vehicular restrictions imposed on election day Bangladesh 24-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Suharto-style liquidation of communists Philippines 24-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: New cabinet sworn-in Sri Lanka 21-Dec-18
Vietnam Country Assessment Report: Calls for political freedoms Vietnam 21-Dec-18
East Asia Pacific Country Assessment Report: The economies of East Asia Pacific countries East Asia Pacific 20-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: Verdicts on former PM deferred Pakistan 20-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Civilians killed in Kashmir India 19-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Prabowo says Indonesia could go extinct if he loses Indonesia 19-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 18-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Bersatu to vet ex-UMNO politicians Malaysia 18-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Papuan tribesmen fear hostility Indonesia 17-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the prime minister Sri Lanka 17-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Chief ministers of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh confirmed India 15-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: UMNO exodus continues Malaysia 15-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Pre-election violence continues Bangladesh 14-Dec-18
Cambodia Country Assessment Report: Cambodia eases ban on opposition Cambodia 14-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Martial law in Mindanao extended Philippines 13-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: US blacklists Pakistan Pakistan 13-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report: Jokowi skips Human Rights Day event Indonesia 12-Dec-18
India Country Assessment Report: Congress Party wins in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh India 12-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report: Hasina to begin campaign Bangladesh 11-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Najib arrested Malaysia 11-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Assessment Report: President Sirisena dismisses snap presidential elections Sri Lanka 10-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: General election date confirmed; concerns over fairness Thailand 10-Dec-18
Philippines Country Assessment Report: Extension of Mindanao martial law sought Philippines 8-Dec-18
Malaysia Country Assessment Report: Large-scale anti-ICERD rally tomorrow Malaysia 7-Dec-18
Pakistan Country Assessment Report: olitical tensions rise in Pakistan Pakistan 7-Dec-18
Thailand Country Assessment Report: Parties to boycott NCPO meeting Thailand 6-Dec-18
Sri Lanka Country Report: Political crisis continues Sri Lanka 6-Dec-18
Bangladesh Country Assessment Report:: Factional rivalry causes violent clashes Bangladesh 5-Dec-18
Indonesia Country Assessment Report:: Military, police evacuate survivors of rebel attacks Indonesia 5-Dec-18
APAC Assistance Special Report – Current Terrorism Threat in Australia Australia 4-Dec-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – India Ground Transport Assessment India 4-Dec-18
Papua New Guinea Risk Case Study Papua New Guinea 28-Nov-18
Thai Special Report: Assessment of Thailand’s Upcoming General Election Thailand 18-Nov-18
Special Country Report: Update on Freeport Indonesia 14-Nov-18
APAC Assistance South Asia Special Report – Bangladesh Election Synopsis Southeast Asia 22-Oct-18
Malaysia Special Feature Malaysia 13-Oct-18
Myanmar Special Feature Myanmar 9-Oct-18
APAC Assistance: Cambodia Country Report Cambodia 13-Aug-18
APAC Assistance: Vietnam Country Report Vietnam 11-Aug-18
An Assessment of Increased Risk from New People’s Army, Philippines Philippines 28-Jun-18
APAC PNG Report: Summary of Recent POM Incidents Papua New Guinea 14-May-18
Thailand’s Emerging Political Parties and Personalities Thailand 23-Apr-18
Indonesia General Election Synopsis Indonesia 2-Mar-18
Thailand General Election Synopsis Thailand 26-Feb-18
SE Asia Hot Issues Report Southeast Asia 29-Jan-18

APAC Assistance Panel Discussion on elections in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Philippines

APAC Assistance Director Paul Quaglia together with Bhargav Reddy and Carol Librojo discuss the general elections in India, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Paul is one of Asia Pacific’s most versatile security and disaster management professionals. Paul has held various demanding roles in military and civil positions. He is a rare expert in the risk management sector with an advanced commercial acumen. Paul has an extensive network throughout South Asia, SE Asia, North Asia, and the Pacific Islands. His network includes business executives, contractors for various industry sectors, government personnel, international agencies, and armed forces.

Carol Librojo heads our analytical team. She mentors our researchers and analysts while guiding the production of APAC-A reports and publications. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. Carol holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration. Her career background included more than 20 years of service in the Philippines’ intelligence and national security sector. She once headed the monitoring and assessment unit of the Philippines’ National Security Council-Secretariat. She also served as Assistant to the Undersecretary of the Presidential Situation Room, a unit that provides round-the-clock news monitoring and intelligence updates to the Philippine President.

Bhargav Reddy leads South Asia operations of APAC Assistance. He graduated from the Queen Mary University of London with a master’s in International Business and Politics. His most recent experience was with Pinkerton as an Intelligence Specialist for APAC and EMEA regions.

The general elections in India were held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The counting of votes is underway and the results are expected on 23 May.  The exit polls have indicated that the ruling BJP is likely to return to power with an overwhelming majority. The BJP led by Prime Minister Modi had won the general elections in 2014 after defeating the Congress Party which was in power since 2004.

The Thai Elections were held on March 24. It was the first election since the 2014 military intervention that installed General Prayut Chan-o-cha as prime minister. The election results are expected to be formalized on May 22.

The Philippine Senatorial Elections were conducted on May 13. Those elected in this midterm election will take office on June 30, midway through the term of President Rodrigo Duterte. The mid-term elections were a referendum of Duterte’s governance and his controversial policies which include his war on drugs.

The Indonesia Elections were held on April 17. This is the first time in Indonesia’s election history that the president, the vice president, members of the People’s Consultative Assembly, and members of local legislative bodies were elected on the same day. Elections results are expected on May 22 while the quick count of votes shows a clear victory for President Widodo. The final official count of the General Election Commission (KPU) shows President Joko Widodo winning with 55.5% of votes against the 44.5% of his challenger, former general Prabowo Subianto. The KPU released the official results of the April presidential election early today. Widodo won over 85 million of the total 154 million votes. The results, however, could trigger a legal challenge and potential street protests after Prabowo claimed widespread cheating.

APAC Assistance Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research

v3_GdF_Transnational Crime PPT

 

Database Extraction of Transnational Crime & Cash Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Transnational Crimes & Cash Smuggling)

 

Database Extraction of Domestic & Gang Crime Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Domestic & Gang Crimes)

 

Database Extraction of  CiT Vehicle Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(CiT Vehicle Robbery)

 

Database Extraction of International Heist Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(International Heists)

 

Database Extraction of Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery Incidents

Transnational Crime and Cash Crime Research(Bank, Art & Jewelry Robbery)

 

APAC Assistance CIT Truck Features

 

Audio Overview of South Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In SOUTH ASIA

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

 

PAKISTAN

Zardari threatens to topple government. Former president and Pakistan People’s Party co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari accused the government of trying to roll back the 18th amendment of the Constitution and targeting the opposition parties with corruption charges. He was speaking at a rally on the 40th death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan who was sentenced to death and hanged by the military government in 1979. He said It is time to march towards Islamabad and oust the government. He said that if the Prime minister does not have funds and if he can’t collect funds through the Federal Board of Revenue then he should leave. Tensions between the political parties have been rising with multiple corruption cases against the opposition party leaders. Tensions can potentially trigger nationwide unrest if the protests by the opposition parties gain traction across the country.

 

BANGLADESH

(Update) Jute mill workers protest turns violent. Into its third day, the protest by the jute mill workers turned violent yesterday, leaving more than 16 people injured in Khulna district. Workers from major mills including Crescent, Platinum, Khalishpur, Daulatpur, Star, Eastern, and Alim Jute Mills held separate demonstrations to press home their nine-point demand which includes clearing their arrears, clearing gratuity and insurance payments of retired workers and regularising temporary workers. Jute mill workers also blockaded roads and railways in different parts of the country during their demonstration.  Clients are advised to steer clear of still ongoing protests and plan for potential transport and road travel disruptions.

 

Travel Alert by the United States. The United State Embassy in Dhaka has updated its travel advisory for Bangladesh. The US embassy has cautioned that In light of calls for revenge in the wake of the March 15 terrorist attack against two mosques in New Zealand, U.S. citizens should exercise heightened awareness of the ongoing threat posed by transnational terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida. The update comes about a month after the Christchurch attack. Nore of the other Five Eyes countries including the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have issued a similar alert. Clients are advised to note the updated advisory from the US embassy and employ caution while traveling in Bangladesh.

 

INDIA

Highways closed for civilian traffic. The government of  Jammu and Kashmir has announced that civilian traffic will be banned on the Baramulla-Jammu highway twice weekly to facilitate movement of security forces. A government spokesman said, “No civilian traffic movement will be allowed along the highway on Sundays and Wednesdays between 4 am and 5 pm. Keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the parliamentary elections and associated possibility of the fidayeen terror attack on security forces’ convoys”. The restrictions will remain in force till May 31. The decision has been taken after the February 14 terror attack on a paramilitary convoy at Pulwama along the highway which left 44 security personnel dead and several others wounded. The spokesman said that another “possible fidayeen attack” on another security force convoy at Banihal took place on March 30 but was foiled by the security forces. Security in the state has continued to deteriorate since the suicide attack and cross border shelling and firing continues along the line of control. Clients are advised to avoid all nonessential travel to Jammu and Kashmir.

Audio Overview of East Asia Issues, FRIDAY, April 5 2019

Bhargav Reddy  – APAC Assistance Operations Assistant

Major Issues In EAST ASIA PACIFIC

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019

 

INDONESIA

Terror suspects arrested. The anti-terrorism Special Detachment 88 arrested a suspected leader of terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) in Karawang, West Java on April 3. The suspect was allegedly involved in several terror acts last year, including the bombings in Surabaya. He is now detained in East Karawang, West Java. The anti-terror arrests are indicative of persistent terror threat, and Indonesian authorities are likely to step up such operations to ensure a trouble-free election this coming April 17. There is no certainty that all terrorists with a plan to disrupt the upcoming elections have been arrested. Clients are advised to employ extra caution for the entire election season. As much as possible, avoid political campaign rallies and religious events. Be alert and cautious near polling stations.

 

THAILAND

Election Commission orders recount. The Election Commission ordered the recounting of votes at two polling stations in Khon Kaen province and re-voting at six polling units in Bangkok, Lampang, Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, and Yasothon. The commission said recounts are needed for the Khon Kaen polling stations because the first counts were inconsistent with the number of voters and marked ballots. New voting is needed in polling stations where the number of voters who turned up on March 24 did not match the number of marked ballot papers. The Election Commission’s order of recount and re-voting gives credence to allegations of election-related anomalies. However, the recount and re-voting in the eight polling units are not expected to significantly affect the outcome of the elections.

 

PHILIPPINES

Duterte rebukes China.  President Rodrigo Duterte said he wanted China to keep away from Thitu Island, an island in the Spratly archipelago held by the Philippines. He said he would send troops to defend the island if necessary. Yesterday, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying the presence of Chinese boats near Thitu Island is “illegal” and a “clear violation” of national sovereignty. The Philippine Navy has said it had spotted almost 300 Chinese vessels, suspected to be militia boats, near Thitu Island from January to March. Duterte’s statement was a rare rebuke of China. The president has chosen to be friendly with China in exchange for Chinese investments and aid. He has publicly said several times that the Philippines cannot go to war with China because the country is no match to the Asian superpower. China is yet to respond to Duterte’s latest statement.

 

CAMBODIA

Opposition leader calls for Hun Sen’s ouster. Exiled acting Cambodia National Rescue Party chief Sam Rainsy has called on the Cambodian public to oust Prime Minister Hun Sen like the Algerians recently did to their ruler. He said he would throw his support behind Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng if he were to stage a coup. Hun Sen has been Cambodia’s PM since 1985 and is expected not to transfer power until his dying days or until one of his sons is ready to assume leadership of Cambodia. The chances of a successful coup against him in the foreseeable future remain uncertain.

 

SOUTH KOREA

Fire triggers an evacuation. An enormous fire in the South Korean border town of Goseong left at least one person dead, injured at least 11 others, destroyed about 120 houses, and forced the evacuation of more than 3,000 people. The blaze broke out yesterday in the northeastern province of Gangwon near the frontier with North Korea. It is now subdued after South Korea mobilized about 200 firetrucks and 2,700 emergency personnel and firefighters to battle the inferno.

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