Who buried ‘The Brunei Times’?

Image result for the brunei times closure

This was back on July 1, 2010 when The Brunei Times introduced a compact version and I was so kiasu that I headed to The Brunei Times office to grab the first copy that entered the office. Photo courtesy of Rano360.com.

More bad news for press freedom in Southeast Asia.


THE Brunei Times
, the second-largest publication in Brunei’s small and heavily censored media landscape, has been shut down. The paper was issued an official order to “cease publication and operations on 7 November” just three days prior, leaving 110 employees jobless in face of an economy analysts have describedas “spluttering.

This is a significant loss to journalism in a nation ranked 155th in the world for press freedom, compared to Thailand’s ranking of 136, and Myanmar’s ranking of 143.


The last issue of The Brunei Times, which has been publishing since mid-2006, contained an announcement stating the closure was due to “business issues, reporting and journalistic standards that should meet the mark set, and also issues relating to business sustainability.”


However, unsatisfied Bruneians on social media are pointing to a different tale.

An ex-writer for The Brunei Times reported in Pakistani news that the real motive behind the shutdown was a complaint filed by the Saudi Embassy, after The Brunei Times published quotes from an unnamed source in a story published on 26 October. The article covered the increase in Hajj and Umra visa fees for Bruneian residents, with the unnamed embassy spokesperson describing the hike as a result of economic downturn from falling oil prices (click here to view a text archive of the now deleted article).

Although an apology was issued on 4 November, there are angry suggestions circulating on social media that the complaint provided the final incentive for government to shut down the publication, which often toed the line of Bruneian censorship standards — even though they may have annoyed authorities from time-to-time.

According to the report, the anonymous ex-employee source stated, “The government had been angry with the paper for quite sometime for its work but the Saudi Embassy story proved to be the final straw.”

Students and researchers are also mourning the loss of the newspaper, which provides an invaluable source of information on Brunei spanning the last ten years.

In a country where there is virtually no criticism of government and where voices are worn weary under the threat of harsh and repressive legislation, we may very well never know what, or more darkly who, buried The Brunei Times. In an age of wavering press freedom in Southeast Asia, this is deeply troubling, solemn news.

New Mandala

Wed, 9 November 2016










Indonesia Hospital ready to handle Gaza residents




INDONESIAN  volunteers who are members of Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) successfully completed the mission of construction the hospital in Gaza, Palestine. The hospital which was inaugurated on June 15 was built on donations of all Indonesian people.

Collecting donations that began in 2009 was able to raise funds amounting to Rp 15 billion. With the funds, a magnificent three-storey hospital could be founded by volunteers recruited from Pondok Pesantren Al-Fattah, Cileungsi, Bogor.

“The hospital stands in 1.6 hectares of land, the building area of 9,600 km2. In the hospital there are 100 beds, four operating rooms, 10 ICU beds and 10 Emergency beds,” said Volunteer Coordinator of Mer-C in Gaza Nur Ikhwan Abadi when talking with ROL lastnight.

Not only that, Ikhwan said, the hospital which were given the name Rumah Sakit Indonesia also has more complete medical support facilities. Such as, 24 hours clinic, Ct-Scan tools, as well as a number of modern and up-to-date medical equipments.

“The location of the hospital is also quite strategic in the region Bayt Lahiya, North Gaza, Palestine. It was close to the border that often became the prone regions,” said the man in the construction of the hospital acted as architect.


Friday, 26 June 2015




RPT-Indonesia, Turkey, IDB to form sharia infrastructure megabank

AIIB founding members
Hidayat Setiaji

INDONESIA is prepared to contribute at least $300 million to a new Islamic infrastructure bank that the Southeast Asian nation will co-found with Turkey and a Saudi-based multilateral lender, the country’s finance minister said on Tuesday.

The idea for the proposed bank comes as Asian nations seek to boost cross-border lending for infrastructure, with China taking the lead with its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Improving Indonesia’s creaking infrastructure is one of President Joko Widodo’s main priorities. In his first budget in February, Widodo allocated 290 trillion rupiah ($21.96 billion) for capital spending.

“It will be like an infrastructure bank, but with a sharia approach, with the republic of Indonesia, Turkey and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) as founding members,” Indonesia’s Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro told reporters.

Sumantri Brodjonegoro

Sumantri Brodjonegoro

Both Indonesia and Turkey have pledged to put at least $300 million into the bank. It was not immediately clear how much the IDB would contribute.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the bank would be a “megabank”, the country’s state Anadolu Agency reported last week.

Ali Babacan

Ali Babacan

Indonesia has said it needs $455 billion during Widodo’s five-year term to upgrade dilapidated facilities, and multilateral lenders have offered to provide more funds to the country.

On a visit to Jakarta last week, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim offered up to $12 billion in new financing to 2019.

Indonesia also plans to form a separate state-owned infrastructure bank, and it wants to play a big role at the AIIB, from which the country is expected to receive major funds.

The AIIB is also discussing with the IDB the use of Islamic financing as part of its lending tools, the IDB’s president Ahmad Mohamed Ali told Reuters.

($1 = 13,205.0000 rupiah) (Additional reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Nicholas Owen and Shri Navaratnam)

Tue, May 26, 2015

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