Toktok No 38 / Summer 2019

Source: Pacific Media Centre

Analysis published with permission of PMC

Pacific Media Centre

ISBN/code: ISSN 1175-0472

Publication date: Monday, February 18, 2019

Publisher: Pacific Media Centre

‘BE COURAGEOUS IN YOUR QUEST FOR TRUTH,’ PMC DIRECTOR TELLS PACIFIC JOURNALISM GRADUATES

Pacific journalism academic Professor David Robie believes the media play a critical role in exposing abuses of power in a world increasingly hostile towards journalists.

However, journalists in the Pacific are frequently “persecuted by smallminded politicians with scant regard for the role of the media,” he says.

Speaking at the 18th University of the South Pacific Journalism Student Awards ceremony at Laucala campus in Suva, Fiji, last October, Dr Robie said despite the growing global dangers surrounding the profession, journalism was critically important for democracy.

Dr Robie said that while such “ghastly fates” for journalists – such as the extrajudicial killing of Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey earlier that month – may seem remote in the Pacific, there were plenty of attacks on media freedom to contend with, while trolls in the region and state threats to internet freedom were “also rife”.

Read more

Plus:

+ New communication award created for Pasifika women

+ Coverage of New Caledonia/Kanaky referendum, November 2018

+ Wansolwara and AUT coverage of Fiji elections, November 2018
 

MIL OSI

MIL OSI

3 out of 4 Singaporeans prefer Heng Swee Keat over Chan Chun Sing as next Prime Minister: Yahoo Poll

Source: Media Outreach
Yahoo News Singapore poll found that three times as many Singaporeans preferred the finance minister to be the next leader of the country, over Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing75% of Singaporeans preferred Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat as PM, compared to 25% for Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing60% viewed Heng positively compared to 44% for Chan62% would be happy with either Heng or Chan as PMA small proportion of respondents have not heard of either Ministers SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 25 January 2019 – Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat is the preferred choice for Prime Minister for the vast majority of Singaporeans if they had to pick between him and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chung Sing, according to a survey commissioned by Yahoo News Singapore.
75 per cent of Singaporeans favoured Minister Heng compared to 25 per cent who backed Minister Chan.
The survey of 916 citizens was conducted by Blackbox Research from 14 to 26 December last year, the month after Heng was appointed as the first assistant secretary general of the ruling People’s Action Party and Chan was appointed second assistant secretary general.
It found that the majority of those polled — 62 per cent — said they were happy with either Heng or Chan as the next prime minister, while 38 per cent said they would prefer someone else.
When asked of their impressions of the two leaders, 60 per cent of respondents viewed Minister Heng positively, while 44 per cent of them had either a “quite positive” or a “very positive” impression of Minister Chan.
A slightly larger percentage viewed Minister Chan negatively, at 27 per cent compared to 17 per cent for Minister Heng — and about a quarter of respondents had no opinions of the two men, at 25 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.
Though political succession remains a focus for Singaporeans as we approach the 4th Generation of leaders, 4 per cent of Singaporeans said that they have never heard of Minister Chan and 2 per cent have not heard of Minister Heng.
The Blackbox Research surveyed Singaporeans from the age of 15 to over 50. Those aged 50 and above accounted for 40 per cent of the respondents, 28 per cent came from the 35 to 49 age category, and 24 per cent were from the 25 to 34 age group. Those in the 15 to 24 age group comprised 8 per cent of respondents.
Verizon Media: Verizon Media is a division of Verizon at the intersection of media, advertising and technology building a member-centric ecosystem created to serve billions. Verizon Media is shaping the future as a global leader in digital and mobile. For more information, visit https://www.verizonmedia.com/.
Published and distributed with permission of Media-Outreach.com.

Taiwan 44 Startups Reached NT$ 55 Billion Business Opportunity at CES 2019

Source: Media Outreach
TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – January 25, 2019 – The Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) led 44 top-tier innovation teams to once again strive in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 8th to 11th, 2019. The Minister of Science and Technology, Chen Liang-Gee, announce today the success of the Taiwan Tech Arena Pavilion’s startups team during the CES 2019 exhibition and the post-CES exhibition at Silicon Valley matchmaking event. Companies Awowo, AgriTalk Technology and GANZIN shared their achievements and substantial results. The 44 Taiwanese technology innovation teams won more than NTD 5.5 billion in business opportunities, with the attention from 20 international media. It is evident that Taiwan’s technological strength and innovation capabilities were well received. 
 Taiwan 44 Startups Reached NT$ 55 Billion Business Opportunity at CES 2019Taiwanese Tech Startups to Open Business Opportunities and New Markets with Solid Technology Background and Innovation
MoST selected 44 promising startups team in 6 categories: Internet of Things (IoT, 25%), Cyber ​​Security & Software (20%), Artificial Intelligence (AI, 18%), Healthcare (14%), wearables (14%), and Advanced Manufacturing (9%).  There were 8 teams among the 44 teams won the CES 2019 Innovation Awards before the exhibition, and most of the teams attracted big manufacturers and engaged with venture capitalists during the CES. 15 teams also participated at the Taiwan Pitch Night and matchmaking event at Silicon Valley which pitch and connect directly with global venture capitalists.
One of the TTA startup teams Awowo, who developed FreeStyle Drum with a unique WPW patent technology to replicate a real drum, has replaced the traditional drumhead with a smaller enamel film, and reduced the large space occupied by electronic drum kits. The sensitivity and responsiveness of the FreeStyle Drum are 10-times faster than an electronic drum kit. Joe Liu, CEO of Awowo, said that through the exhibition, they have signed a million-dollar order and will soon be announced in Guangzhou Music Festival in February. Being in music and instruments business for 2 decades, Liu said that it is CES and the support from the Ministry that traditional industries can explore new business potential if combining innovative technology application.
Another promising team AgriTalk Technology develops an “AgriTalk Management Platform” that controls the production of agricultural products with technology. According to Professor Wen Liang Chen, founder of AgriTalk Technology, the system integrates sensors to acquire biological and environmental data, regulates pests, diseases, soil, and fertility. Chen’s love of biotechnology and his farm family background has motived him to look for a total solution for farmers to not only monitor farmland condition, but also improve crop quality. With the support from the policy of National Chiao Tung University to promote cross-disciplinary education and “Taiwan Startup Institute” (TSI Accelerator) launched by the Ministry, he and his team founded AgriTalk. During CES, buyers from Dubai, Chile, Canada, India (Mumbai), the Philippines, Sweden, South Africa, Italy, France, the Netherlands, etc. negotiated with AgriTalk. The company also won first place in Taiwan Pitch Night during the post-CES event; their future business opportunities are estimated to be more than NT$900 million, and the potential of foreign markets cooperation is out of Chen’s imagination.
Ganzin Technology also understands more about the global market via CES and the supports from the Ministry. Ganzin focus on creating the next generation eye tracking modules that can be easily integrated into AR/VR modules to help unlock the potential of the eye as a seamless interface into the extended reality world. Over the last few years, they have re-designed the necessary algorithms for a highly precise eye-tracking module, the result is Aurora, a dramatically re-architected eye-tracking solution with a small form factor and minimal power requirements. Ganzin is one of the teams that participated in CES Unveiled and was included in the “Best of CES” of Reuters, said Shao-Yi Chien, founder of Ganzin. Taiwanese Startups Successfully Attract International Manufacturers with Taiwan Tech Arena’s Supports
It is the second year, the MoST led startups team to CES. With the strength of startups’ solid technology background and innovative solutions and the support from Taiwan Tech Arena, Taiwan got exposure in international media 20 times higher than last year. Other than the 4 CES 2019 Innovation Award Honorees and shortlisted teams that were invited to participate in CES 2019 Unveiled, Taiwan tech startups also attracted worldly known corporations in their own categories, including T-Mobile, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Coka Cola, Toyota, etc.
The achievement of CES 2019 and Silicon Valley Post-CES matchmaking events successfully demonstrated the support by MoST. Via TTA, MoST had invited local and international accelerators and academic research to provide various resources for Taiwan startups ecosystem. The platform organized by TTA connects Taiwan startup teams to international market. TTA will continue to strives for global exposure of Taiwan tech startups and technology capability to deepen Taiwan’s key position in the global economy and startup ecosystem.
Published and distributed with permission of Media-Outreach.com.

This February, tune in as Dancing on Ice returns to ITV Choice

Source: Media Outreach
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Media OutReach – 25 January 2019 – The greatest show on ice is back, as Dancing on Ice returns to ITV Choice for a brand new series.
Twelve celebrity skaters will be taking to the ice in a blaze of glory as each week they go head to head in a bid to become champions of the ice, with one celebrity heading home each week. This year’s competing celebrities, paired with their professional partners, are TOWIE sensation Gemma Collins, Coronation Street actress Jane Danson, Loose Women’s Saira Khan, X Factor favourite Saara Aaalto, Grease legend Didi Conn, Pussycat Dolls singer Melody Thornton, dancer James Jordan, singer and presenter Brian McFadden, actor and comedian Richard Blackwood, cricketer Ryan Sidebottom, Love Island’s Wes Nelson and Neighbours star Mark Little. Once again their quest for success will be overseen by skating legends Torvill and Dean, who head up the judging panel. With Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby returning to present the show live every week. This February also sees the highly-anticipated sixth series of critically-acclaimed detective drama, Endeavour on ITV Choice. This series sees Shaun Evans reprising his titular role as Endeavour Morse whilst also putting his directorial mark on the show, heading behind the camera for the second feature-length film in the series. Evans’ character will similarly be trialling pastures new, with Morse having started a new role as a uniformed officer at the Woodstock police department and embracing the fashion of the period by growing a moustache. Following the dissolution of Oxford City Police and the merging with Thames Valley Constabulary at the end of the last series, the latest instalment is set in 1969 and picks up with the team dispersed as they find their feet in their various new roles. However, despite their separation, the tragic murder of DC George Fancy still hangs over them both collectively and individually, with the case remaining unresolved. Also on ITV Choice, Grantchester starring much-loved Robson Green and James Norton, and new cast member Tom Brittney, returns for a fourth series. James Norton,  who plays the charismatic, jazz-loving clergyman, Sidney Chambers, will make his final appearance during the series. Whilst clergyman Will Davenport, played by Tom Brittney, becomes DI Geordie Keating’s (Robson Green) new crime-solving partner in 1950s Grantchester.
Dancing on Ice (Series 11)Saturdays from 2nd FebruaryIND:16:30  MALTA: 17:00 THAI: 18.00 KSA/TWN: 19.00 UAE:20:00 Endeavour (Series 6)Tuesdays from 12th FebruaryIND:18:30 MALTA: 19:00 THAI: 20.00 KSA/TWN: 21.00 UAE:22:00 Grantchester (Series 4)Mondays from 25th FebruaryIND:18:30 MALTA: 19:00 THAI: 20.00 KSA/TWN: 21.00 UAE:22:00
Published and distributed with permission of Media-Outreach.com.

Taiwan 44 Startups Reached NT$ 5.5 Billion Business Opportunity at CES 2019

Source: Media Outreach
TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media OutReach – January 25, 2019 – The Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) led 44 top-tier innovation teams to once again strive in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 8th to 11th, 2019. The Minister of Science and Technology, Chen Liang-Gee, announce today the success of the Taiwan Tech Arena Pavilion’s startups team during the CES 2019 exhibition and the post-CESexhibition at Silicon Valley matchmaking event. Companies Awowo, AgriTalk Technology and GANZIN shared their achievements and substantial results. The 44 Taiwanese technology innovation teams won more than NTD 5.5 billion in business opportunities, with the attention from 20 international media. It is evident that Taiwan’s technological strength and innovation capabilities were well received. 
 Taiwan 44 Startups Reached NT$ 55 Billion Business Opportunity at CES 2019
Taiwanese Tech Startups to Open Business Opportunities and New Markets with Solid Technology Background and Innovation
MoST selected 44 promising startups team in 6 categories: Internet of Things (IoT, 25%), Cyber ​​Security & Software (20%), Artificial Intelligence (AI, 18%), Healthcare (14%), wearables (14%), and Advanced Manufacturing (9%).  There were 8 teams among the 44 teams won the CES 2019 Innovation Awards before the exhibition, and most of the teams attracted big manufacturers and engaged with venture capitalists during the CES. 15 teams also participated at the Taiwan Pitch Night and matchmaking event at Silicon Valley which pitch and connect directly with global venture capitalists.
One of the TTA startup teams Awowo, who developed FreeStyle Drum with a unique WPW patent technology to replicate a real drum, has replaced the traditional drumhead with a smaller enamel film, and reduced the large space occupied by electronic drum kits. The sensitivity and responsiveness of the FreeStyle Drum are 10-times faster than an electronic drum kit. Joe Liu, CEO of Awowo, said that through the exhibition, they have signed a million-dollar order and will soon be announced in Guangzhou Music Festival in February. Being in music and instruments business for 2 decades, Liu said that it is CES and the support from the Ministry that traditional industries can explore new business potential if combining innovative technology application.
Another promising team AgriTalk Technology develops an “AgriTalk Management Platform” that controls the production of agricultural products with technology. According to Professor Wen Liang Chen, founder of AgriTalk Technology, the system integrates sensors to acquire biological and environmental data, regulates pests, diseases, soil, and fertility. Chen’s love of biotechnology and his farm family background has motived him to look for a total solution for farmers to not only monitor farmland condition, but also improve crop quality. With the support from the policy of National Chiao Tung University to promote cross-disciplinary education and “Taiwan Startup Institute” (TSI Accelerator) launched by the Ministry, he and his team founded AgriTalk. During CES, buyers from Dubai, Chile, Canada, India (Mumbai), the Philippines, Sweden, South Africa, Italy, France, the Netherlands, etc. negotiated with AgriTalk. The company also won first place in Taiwan Pitch Night during the post-CES event; their future business opportunities are estimated to be more than NT$900 million, and the potential of foreign markets cooperation is out of Chen’s imagination.
Ganzin Technology also understands more about the global market via CES and the supports from the Ministry. Ganzin focus on creating the next generation eye tracking modules that can be easily integrated into AR/VR modules to help unlock the potential of the eye as a seamless interface into the extended reality world. Over the last few years, they have re-designed the necessary algorithms for a highly precise eye-tracking module, the result is Aurora, a dramatically re-architected eye-tracking solution with a small form factor and minimal power requirements. Ganzin is one of the teams that participated in CES Unveiled and was included in the “Best of CES” of Reuters, said Shao-Yi Chien, founder of Ganzin. Taiwanese Startups Successfully Attract International Manufacturers with Taiwan Tech Arena’s Supports
It is the second year, the MoST led startups team to CES. With the strength of startups’ solid technology background and innovative solutions and the support from Taiwan Tech Arena, Taiwan got exposure in international media 20 times higher than last year. Other than the 4 CES 2019 Innovation Award Honorees and shortlisted teams that were invited to participate in CES 2019 Unveiled, Taiwan tech startups also attracted worldly known corporations in their own categories, including T-Mobile, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Coka Cola, Toyota, etc.
The achievement of CES 2019 and Silicon Valley Post-CES matchmaking events successfully demonstrated the support by MoST. Via TTA, MoST had invited local and international accelerators and academic research to provide various resources for Taiwan startups ecosystem. The platform organized by TTA connects Taiwan startup teams to international market. TTA will continue to strives for global exposure of Taiwan tech startups and technology capability to deepen Taiwan’s key position in the global economy and startup ecosystem.
Published and distributed with permission of Media-Outreach.com.

City of Dreams Celebrates the World’s Most Iconic Car Brand and Lifts the Lid on the Rarely Seen World of Automotive Design with the First ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ Exhibition in Asia

Source: Media Outreach
MACAU, CHINA – Media OutReach – January 24, 2019 – Macau’s leading leisure and entertainment resort, City of Dreams, is teaming up with the Design Museum (London), the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, and Ferrari, the world’s most iconic carmaker to present the ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ exhibition in Asia for the first time. Following on from highly acclaimed runs at the Museo Ferrari in Maranello, Italy and the Design Museum in London, ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ will make City of Dreams in Macau its coveted third global destination from January 25 to June 16, 2019.    

The Asia’s first Ferrari: Under the Skin Exhibition features over 10 cars of significance and some 100 original artefacts from the legendary Italian marque’s rich history.
Continuing City of Dreams’ mission to deliver out-of-this-world experiences for global travelers in Asia, and following hot on the heels of the opening of the groundbreaking Morpheus hotel, the HKD2 billion-valued major exhibition takes visitors on an immersive journey to explore the history and design of the world’s most luxurious and iconic car brand. Curated by the Design Museum in London and the Museo Ferrari in Maranello, ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ features over 10 cars of significance and some 100 original artefacts from the legendary Italian marque’s rich history, many of which are from private collections and are on display in public for the first time in Asia. For the duration of the exhibition, City of Dreams will transform its contemporary art space into a unique museum that will showcase the rise of Ferrari from its against-the-odds beginnings in an Italy ravaged by the Second World War to the glamour and glory of the brand we know today. The exhibition captures the passion, ambition and relentless drive for excellence that has made Ferrari the most sought-after name among motoring enthusiasts the world over. ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ is divided into six distinct zones, showcasing everything from original hand-drawn sketches and early wooden master models to engines, gearboxes and other parts that illustrate Ferrari’s ground-breaking engineering techniques and design. Among the highlights set to thrill visitors is an exact replica of the first Ferrari ever made in 1947, the 2000 Formula 1 championship-winning car driven by Michael Schumacher as well as an elite selection of vintage racing cars that hold a special place in Ferrari’s incredible story.
Mr. David Sisk, Property President of City of Dreams Macau, said: “We are very excited to bring this exceptional exhibition to Asia for the first time, and to give visitors to City of Dreams the exclusive opportunity to experience some of the most famous cars of all time. Just like Morpheus, innovation and style have always been at the heart of Ferrari’s DNA, and the collaboration between the two ultra-luxury brands highlights our shared values and relentless drive to keep raising the bar.” Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, said: “Ferrari Under the Skin shows  the remarkable  creative  process that goes into designing, building and racing  some of the most beautiful and powerful cars ever made. We are delighted that the exhibition will be enthralling a new audience in Macao. It’s particularly appropriate that it will be shown in a venue so closely associated with the architecture of Dame Zaha Hadid, a brilliant designer, and a long term friend of the Design Museum. Tickets for ‘Ferrari: Under the Skin’ are available now, priced at MOP80. Guests will be eligible for one complimentary ticket on any spending at City of Dreams’ outlets. For more information, please visit www.cityofdreamsmacasu.com. About City of Dreams City of Dreams is an integrated entertainment resort that has established itself as a premier leisure and entertainment destination in Macau. Located in the heart of Cotai in Macau, it combines electrifying entertainment, a diverse array of accommodation, regional and international dining, designer brand shopping and a spacious and contemporary casino. The resort brings together a collection of world-renowned brands including Grand Hyatt and Dragone to create an exceptional entertainment experience that aims to appeal to a broad spectrum of visitors from around Asia and the world. City of Dreams features a 420,000-square-foot casino with approximately 475 gaming tables and approximately 670 gaming machines; over 20 restaurants and bars; an impressive array of some of the world’s most sought-after retail brands;  “The House of Dancing Water”, the world’s largest water-based extravaganza showcased in the purpose-built Dancing Water Theater, represents the live entertainment centerpiece of City of Dreams’ overall leisure and entertainment offering. A comprehensive range of accommodation options at City of Dreams include Nüwa offering approximately 300 guest rooms, The Countdown offering approximately 300 guest rooms and Grand Hyatt Macau offering approximately 800 guest rooms. In addition, Morpheus, the new hotel at City of Dreams designed by the late legendary architect Dame Zaha Hadid, commenced operation on June 15, 2018, offering approximately 770 rooms, suites and villas. For more information please visit: www.cityofdreamsmacau.com (Official Website) and www.cityofdreamsmedia.com (Media Portal). For The House of Dancing Water information, please visit www.thehouseofdancingwater.com (Official Website) and www.thehouseofdancingwatermedia.com (Media Portal). About the Design Museum The Design Museum is located in London and is the world’s leading design museum. It makes the impact of design visible and is the only place in the UK where the design industry, education and the public can come together to change the way people think about themselves and the future. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It is a registered charity that has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over six million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Miuccia Prada, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London. Leading architectural designer John Pawson converted the interior of a 1960s modernist building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions and significantly extend its learning programme. The Design Museum is European Museum of the Year for 2018; the Design Museum was one of forty finalists and the sixth UK winner in the award’s 41-year history. designmuseum.org About Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited The Company, with its American depositary shares listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (NASDAQ: MLCO), is a developer, owner and operator of casino gaming and entertainment casino resort facilities in Asia. The Company currently operates Altira Macau (www.altiramacau.com), a casino hotel located at Taipa, Macau and City of Dreams (www.cityofdreamsmacau.com), an integrated urban casino resort located in Cotai, Macau. Its business also includes the Mocha Clubs (www.mochaclubs.com), which comprise the largest non-casino based operations of electronic gaming machines in Macau. The Company also majority owns and operates Studio City (www.studiocity-macau.com), a cinematically-themed integrated entertainment, retail and gaming resort in Cotai, Macau. In the Philippines, a Philippine subsidiary of the Company currently operates and manages City of Dreams Manila (www.cityofdreams.com.ph), a casino, hotel, retail and entertainment integrated resort in the Entertainment City complex in Manila. For more information about the Company, please visit www.melco-resorts.com. The Company is strongly supported by its single largest shareholder, Melco International Development Limited, a company listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited and is substantially owned and led by Mr. Lawrence Ho, who is the Chairman, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Safe Harbor Statement This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company may also make written or oral forward-looking statements in its periodic reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), in its annual report to shareholders, in press releases and other written materials and in oral statements made by its officers, directors or employees to third parties. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the Company’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) growth of the gaming market and visitation in Macau and the Philippines, (ii) capital and credit market volatility, (iii) local and global economic conditions, (iv) our anticipated growth strategies, (v) gaming authority and other governmental approvals and regulations, and (vi) our future business development, results of operations and financial condition. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, “anticipate”, “target”, “aim”, “estimate”, “intend”, “plan”, “believe”, “potential”, “continue”, “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. Further information regarding these and other risks, uncertainties or factors is included in the Company’s filings with the SEC. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and the Company undertakes no duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law.
Published and distributed with permission of Media-Outreach.com.

Jakarta Post: Free radical cleric linked to Bali bombing – why now?

Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir … controversy over presidential plan for his early release. Image: YouTube still

Pacific Media Watch Newsdesk

Indonesian President Joko Widodo says a radical Muslim cleric linked to the 2002 Bali bombings would only be released from jail if he pledged loyalty to the state and its ideology, following news he would be freed unconditionally sparked criticism – including a stinging editorial in the country’s national English language daily.

President Widodo had declared last week that Abu Bakar Bashir, 81, would be freed on humanitarian grounds, citing his age and poor health.

But a presidential statement said yesterday it would be a “conditional release”.

READ MORE: Indonesia backtracks on ‘unconditional’ release of Bashir

Condemning the release decision, The Jakarta Post said: “The timing and circumstances of the President’s decision are so suspicious that one wonders whether his health condition was a factor at all.”

Bashir was convicted in 2010 under anti-terrorism laws for links to militant training camps in Aceh province and jailed for 15 years.

-Partners-

Although linked to the Bali attacks and a bombing at Jakarta’s Marriott Hotel in 2003, Bashir was never convicted for them and denied those ties.

The Jakarta Post’s editorial board published the following opinion article:

‘Wrong on so many levels’
“There is nothing wrong with granting an old and ailing felon conditional release or even a pardon on humanitarian grounds. But President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo’s decision to approve the early release of 81-year-old terror convict and firebrand cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is wrong on so many levels.

“It is not impossible to pardon the ailing cleric on humanitarian grounds, but the timing and circumstances of the President’s decision are so suspicious that one wonders whether his health condition was a factor at all.

“The call came only months before the April presidential election in which Jokowi will square off against his old rival, Prabowo Subianto, in a bid to secure a second term.

“Prabowo has been touted as the more Islamic candidate by hardline Islamists, while Jokowi is struggling to convince voters he is not a communist, even after naming the leader of the nation’s most influential Islamic institution as his running mate.

“Given the political backdrop, it is too easy to believe the move was just another attempt by Jokowi to win Muslim votes.

“Yusril Ihza Mahendra, the lawyer for the Jokowi-Ma’ruf Amin campaign, has dismissed such speculation. Mahendradatta, Bashir lawyer, has also claimed that his client’s release has nothing to do with politics, that it is not a ‘political gift’ from Jokowi.

“The claim is hardly convincing. Bashir’s lawyers had long cited Bashir’s deteriorating health as the primary reason for his release, or him being put under house arrest. The government had ignored the request. So why the change now?

“Moreover, the Jokowi administration has been far from transparent in explaining the legal basis for Bashir’s release.

“Days after the decision was made public, officials said it was unclear if Bashir was pardoned or granted conditional release. It is hard to say which.

Presidential pardon not sought
“Neither the cleric nor his lawyer have ever sought presidential pardon. The cleric is neither eligible for conditional release, despite having served two thirds of his prison sentence, because he refused to sign a letter of loyalty to the state ideology Pancasila — a requirement for all terror convicts.

“Yusril argued Jokowi could just change or ‘ignore’ the policy, as it is only stipulated in a ministerial regulation, not a law. While it is possible to tweak the regulation, one wonders why Jokowi needs to go through all that for Bashir.

“This leads to another issue: fairness.

“The President has often pledged to not interfere with the law. Only recently, Jokowi cited the exact argument to reject calls for him to grant clemency to a housewife jailed for inadvertently exposing the man accused of sexually abusing her.

“Jokowi is also merciless to drug convicts. Last July, a terminally ill Pakistani drug convict on death row died in prison. The man claimed innocence and Jokowi refused to free him despite his health condition and plea for justice.

“The President has the prerogative to pardon convicts, but he is obliged to justify his action before citizens. His decision on Bashir was poorly timed, legally flawed and insensitive. It sent all the wrong messages to many of his supporters as well as the international community.”

Article by AsiaPacificReport.nz

MIL Analysis+Reportage – EveningReport.NZ

MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: International Reserves of Bank Negara Malaysia as at 15 January 2019

Source: Bank Negara Malaysia

Press Releases
International Reserves of Bank Negara Malaysia as at 15 January 2019
Ref No : 01/19/04 22 Jan 2019 Embargo : Not for publication or broadcast before 1500 hours on Tuesday 22 January 2019
The international reserves of Bank Negara Malaysia amounted to USD101.7 billion as at 15 January 2019.The reserves position is sufficient to finance 7.3 months of retained imports and is 1.0 time the short-term external debt. 
See also: BNM Statement of Assets & Liabilities as at 15 January 2019

Bank Negara Malaysia22 Jan 2019
© Bank Negara Malaysia, 2019. All rights reserved.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific

MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: Bypass congestion easing

Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Central-Wan Chai Bypass congestion has been improving, Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung says.

Speaking to reporters today ahead of the Executive Council meeting, Mr Cheung said the Transport Department deployed manpower overnight to set up directional signboards and display more information on various digital screens at crucial vantage points for motorists.

“On the Central-Wan Chai Bypass congestion, I would use the words ‘teething problems’ on the first day.

“I’m sure that given time, and also with the completion in a month’s time of the access road, the link road between Rumsey Street and also the access road itself, the bypass itself, the situation will further improve,” he said.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific

MIL-OSI Asia Pacific: President Tsai meets Richard Haass, President of US Council on Foreign Relations

Source: Republic Of China Taiwan

President Tsai meets Richard Haass, President of US Council on Foreign Relations

2019-01-21

President Tsai Ing-wen met with Dr. Richard Haass, president of the US-based Council on Foreign Relations, on the morning of January 21.

President Tsai mentioned that Dr. Haass, along with many other experts, has pointed out that the international order and democratic values that help maintain global peace are now being challenged. Taiwan is facing these challenges with courage; committed to democratic values; and dedicated to safeguarding regional peace, stability, prosperity, and development to contribute to a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

Commenting on cross-strait relations, the president noted that Taiwan has never been opposed to cross-strait interaction and exchanges. However, China has not abandoned the threat of military force against Taiwan, and intends to force “one country, two systems” on Taiwan. She once again emphasized that Taiwan absolutely will not accept “one country, two systems,” and that this is the “Taiwan consensus.”

The president also called on the international community to take the changes now happening in our region seriously, and address them directly. Taiwan is on the front line defending democracy and freedom, because the Taiwanese in this generation have a historical mission: to protect Taiwan’s democracy against threats. She stated that she believes that when facing bullies, weakness only leads to greater aggression.

President Tsai pointed out that people around the world who believe in democratic values, including many in Hong Kong and China, have expectations for Taiwan, and that more and more of our international friends are speaking up for Taiwan. Because, she said, everyone knows that defending Taiwan–a beacon of democracy–is the only hope for democracy and freedom in Asia.

The president thanked the international community for supporting democratic Taiwan. She said this included the Spokesman for the US National Security Council, Garrett Marquis, who voiced his support. The American Institute in Taiwan, along with 44 international senior experts and scholars, also publicly affirmed Taiwan’s democratic achievements. These gestures show that the international community recognizes Taiwan’s commitment to defending freedom and democracy.

Finally, President Tsai stated that Taiwan will continue to persevere. She also hopes that Dr. Haass, and all of our like-minded friends around the world, will work together to ensure our shared democratic values.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific