The leader of Indonesia’s oil and gas regulatory committee, Rudi Rubiandini, was placed under late on Tuesday. Rubiandini, who was appointed head of SKKMigas in January, was taken into custody with three unnamed acquaintances. SKKMigas oversees oil and gas sale and distribution under the country’s energy and mineral resources ministry.
Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Agency alleges that Rubiandini was in the possession of $400,000 in cash.
“The arrests come as Indonesia is already battling concerns over corruption allegations in its oil and gas sector that some analysts said could deter investors,” said BBC.
Meanwhile, Kuala Lumpur police have controversially incarcerated a resort owner for allowing Buddhists to use a Muslim prayer room. The owner, a 45-year-old Singaporean Muslim who is a permanent resident of Malaysia, allowed Buddhist patrons to use the room because no others were vacant. The arrest took place after a video of the incident was uploaded to YouTube – prompting outrage from Malaysia’s Muslim-majority population.
Malaysia could jail the Singaporean citizen for up to two years for “defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion.”
Over in Cambodia, two children have been hospitalized after testing positive for the H5N1 avian flu. The latest infections, confirmed in a 9-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, were likely caused by contact with sick or dead chickens. There have been 16 cases of H5N1 in Cambodia so far this year – nine of those cases proved fatal.
“Dr Mam Bunheng, the country's health minister, said in the statement that H5N1 is a serious threat to Cambodia and that children are vulnerable, because they often take care of backyard poultry, treat them as pets, and play in areas where poultry are found. He urged parents to keep children away from sick or dead birds and to prevent them from playing with poultry,” reported CIDRAP.
Moving from health to foreign relations, Cambodia was the only country that failed to attend a meeting of ASEAN nations to discuss relations with China over disputed territories in the South China Sea.
“Since 2009, China's sovereignty claims in the area have sparked several confrontations with rival claimants such as the Philippines and Vietnam,” stated Bangkok Post. “ASEAN members Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam have territorial disputes with China.”
The ten ASEAN nations will share the results of their “brain-storming session” with Chinese officials at a meeting in Beijing planned for August 28-30. The Beijing summit is meant to commemorate ten years of “strategic partnership” between ASEAN and China.
J.T. Quigley is assistant editor of The Diplomat.