Monthly Archives: May 2008

Fretilin-PUN: unhappy with NP plan to buy 65 cars for MPs

Timor Post

MPs from PUN and Fretilin have reacted strongly to the plan of the National Parliament to buy new 65 cars [Toyota Prado] for the 65 MPs in parliament. According to PUN-Fretilin, saying it is unconscionable to proceed with this plan while the people are suffering.

MP Fretilin Aniceto Guterres said that initially Fretilin did not accept the plan of buying cars for the MPs as people are starving due to the food crisis.

“I concur that the parliament need cars to carry out assessments and other duties, but not cars for every MP,” lamented Mr. Guterres.

PUN MP Fernanda Borges said that her party is in the parliament to represent people and she is happy with US$10 per diem [per day. There is no need for cars as the cars are so expensive and will put too much strain on the State budget.

“For me this is a serious step to take for the State. If the cars are bought for the current MPs, then the next MPs will also need cars, as we do now,” questioned Ms. Borges.

The Vice President of the National Parliament Maria Paixão said that the cars will be bought to facilitate the work of the MPs and may be sold at a lower price.

ASDT withdraw from AMP

Timor Post, Suara Timor Lorosa’e, Diario Nacional, Radio Timor-Leste and Televisaun Timor-Leste

The Social Democratic Association of Timorese (ASDT) decided to withdraw form the Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) on Tuesday (27/5), saying that the party’s has not yet received any response from Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão on its demands.

ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral stated that ASDT is no longer a part of AMP. Any difficulties people face can be directly addressed to CNRT, PD and PSD.

Earlier ASDT had proposed to Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão to remove the Minister of Commerce and Tourism Gil da Costa Alves and the State Secretary of Environment Abilio Lima from their positions. ASDT is also asking the Prime Minister to place ASDT members as much as possible in the role of ambassador, district and sub-district administrators in areas where the party received the majority of more votes during parliamentary elections.

“Up until now we have no response from the Prime Minister. Such political dynamics may have a strong impact on the economic crisis in the country and people will lose their confidence in the AMP,” said ASDT President Xavier do Amaral on Tuesday (27/5) in Lecidere, Dili.

Mr. Xavier said that people’s lives were getting more difficult as the large state budget approved by the National Parliament has not yet reached the people.

“Starting from today (27/5), we declare directly to the people that everything that is going wrong is the fault of AMP fault. Just ask CNRT, PD and PSD. ASDT has no responsibility anymore for decisions made by the AMP Government,” he said.

ASDT President Xavier do Amaral also said that he is still concerned with some of his members’ statements that they want to be independent MPs in the parliament.

“I (Xavier) ask them (ASDT members) to respect to the votes of ASDT supporters when they make decisions. The members in the parliament have rights and in a democracy can do it. But they were not voted in by the parliament/government. They were chosen by the ASDT supporters to take a seat in parliament, so they have to follow ASDT. They are free to discuss anything but we [ASDT] do not regard them as ASDT members and their statements are not considered as representing the party,” said Xavier.

Another ASDT member of the NP, João Manuel Carascalão said the as an MP will continue to support the AMP Government.

“As an MP, I have a moral conscience and a big responsibility to serve the community and state, not only the party.

In parliament, we are the representatives of the community, not only the representative of the party,” said Mr. Carrascalão.

With other ASDT MPs, Mr. Carrascalão said that they are not concerned about ASDT’s decision concerning them.

The petitioners’ position: AMP-Fretilin recommend civilian life

Timor Post and Diario Nacional

The AMP and Fretilin bench in the National Parliament recommend that the petitioners return to civilian life as they had left the military when they deserted F-FDTL.

PSD Member of Parliament Riak Leman said that the petitioners do not deserve to return to the F-FDTL. He said that the petitioners were involved in two situations: First, from the military’s point of view they are deserters as they by abandoned their barracks. Second, the petitioners’ case, which was pending for some time, was destroyed when Salsinha and Alfredo attacked PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana on 11 February.

“They should have resolved their problem by the time the abandoned the HQ. Why didn’t they want to resolve their problem, instead abandoning their HQ? So, some of their friends who did not follow them will not be happy to see them again. Therefore I have reminded the petitioners’ leader former Major Tara to think ten times if they want to return to military,” he said.

PSD President Mario Viegas Carrascalão said that the credibility of F-FDTL will be damaged if it decides to accept the petitioners’ return.

The Fretilin chief of bench in the National Parliament, Aniceto Guterres said that previously his party suggested that, based upon their decision to leave F-FDTL and the ensuing 2006 crisis, the petitioners should return to civilian life.

UNDERTIM: only force could lead to an early election – Timor Post

UNDERTIM Vice President Faustino de Jesus-Renan Selak said that only force could lead to early elections but this would be suicide.

Renan Selak said that the early election might take place if the Government failed twice in passing its programs in the National Parliament.

“If the opposition has the power to lobby other parties to vote against Government’s programs [in the National Parliament], the early elections will be realized,” said Mr. Selak in the National Parliament.

He said that his party is joining with AMP to block Fretilin’s attempt to force early elections and save AMP and its programs.

East Timor to Diversify 40% of Wealth Fund Away From Treasuries

By Liza Lin

May 26 (Bloomberg) — East Timor is seeking to revise laws to allow
the government to invest as much as 40 percent of its $3 billion
petroleum fund outside of U.S. Treasuries, mirroring efforts by
sovereign wealth funds in Norway, Singapore and Kuwait.

Southeast Asia’s newest nation plans to diversify its investments
into higher-yielding assets such as European bonds, said
Jose
Ramos-Horta, the country’s president. East Timor, which expects the
state fund to reach $3 billion by year-end, gets the bulk of its
revenue from the oil and gas industry. Almost all the fund is
invested in U.S. Treasuries, he said.

“We are looking into reversing the current arrangement whereby the
government can diversify only 10 percent” of the fund, Ramos-Horta
said today in an interview in Singapore. The country would “at least
do what the Norwegians are doing now, which is 40 percent in
diversifying, 60 percent in
U.S. Treasuries.”

East Timor is seeking higher-yielding assets as the U.S. dollar fell
against major global currencies, boosting the price of imports such
as food, with the country’s farmers providing only a third of the
rice it needs. The Japanese yen rose 8.5 percent against the dollar
this year, and the euro gained 7.1 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The yield
on German two-year bonds has widened to 1.78 percentage points more
than U.S. Treasuries of the same maturity, Bloomberg data shows. The
yields were the same in October.

The number of sovereign wealth funds has surged as Asian nations and
oil exporters in the Middle East seek greater returns on their
currency reserves by investing in companies. Morgan Stanley estimates
the funds’ assets may increase fourfold to $12 trillion by 2015.

`Urgently Diversify’

Some funds have also been hit by the credit crunch that battered
financial markets. The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the world’s
second largest, suffered the worst quarter since it was established
in 1998. Investments in the fund, known as The Government Pension
Fund – Global, dropped 5.6 percent in value in the first quarter,
erasing a 4.3 percent return last year, the central bank said on May 23.

Ramos-Horta, the 1996 co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, favors
hiring two or three fund managers to manage the East Timorese fund,
reviewing their performance every six months, he said in a Bloomberg
Television interview.

“We have to urgently diversify our investments,” he said.

The country will also use state funds to start a “development bank”
next year to boost industries such as agriculture, livestock, and
fisheries by giving small enterprises access to finance, he added. An
independent bank would be set up with about $100 million of capital
to offer loans with interest rates of 7 percent to 8 percent, or half
of what local banks now charge.

East Timor which became independent in 2002, voted to end Indonesia’s
occupation in a 1999 referendum. A former Portuguese colony, the
island borders part of Indonesia, and is about 500 kilometers (310
miles) north of Australia.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Liza
Lin in Singapore at Llin15@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: May 26, 2008 02:38 EDT

Australia co-operating with Timor

May 26, 2008 4:32 PM

AAP

Australia is providing all possible assistance to East Timorese
authorities investigating rebel attacks on the nation’s leaders, a
Senate committee has been told.

East Timor’s president Jose Ramos-Horta, badly wounded in the
February attacks, has criticised Australian Federal Police (AFP) for
not fully co-operating with his country’s inquiry.

At issue is the Darwin bank account of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado,
killed by troops after his attack, a large number of calls he made to
Australia and claims that some individuals fled to Australia
following the attacks on Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao
on February 11.

AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty declined to tell the Senate’s legal and
constitutional affairs committee whether police had investigated the
bank account, saying it was an operational matter.

Neither could he comment on suggestions that some individuals had
fled to Australia following the assassination attempts.

“Suffice to say that we are giving the East Timorese authorities, the
Prosecutor-General and the East Timorese police and the UN our
fullest co-operation and assistance where we can,” he said.

Reinado’s Darwin account, held jointly with Australian woman Angelita
Pires, reportedly contains more than $800,000.

Keelty said he had not spoken to Dr Ramos-Horta about the issue.

The AFP had provided substantial assistance to the president in terms
of his own close personal protection while he was hospitalised in Australia.

“As far as I am aware the relationship between the AFP and President
Ramos-Horta is a very positive one,” he said.

“We are providing resources to the United Nations mission in East Timor.

“Prior to the shooting, in December last year, I had very positive
discussions with President Ramos-Horta about development of the
police in (East Timor) and that is now going to occur through the
budget announcements.”

US Dollar goes down the pan

East Timor to Diversify 40% of Wealth Fund Away From Treasuries

By Liza Lin

May 26 (Bloomberg) — East Timor is seeking to revise laws to allow the government to invest as much as 40 percent of its $3 billion petroleum fund outside of U.S. Treasuries, mirroring efforts by sovereign wealth funds in Norway, Singapore and Kuwait.

Southeast Asia’s newest nation plans to diversify its investments into higher-yielding assets such as European bonds, said Jose Ramos-Horta, the country’s president. East Timor, which expects the state fund to reach $3 billion by year-end, gets the bulk of its revenue from the oil and gas industry. Almost all the fund is invested in U.S. Treasuries, he said.

“We are looking into reversing the current arrangement whereby the government can diversify only 10 percent” of the fund, Ramos-Horta said today in an interview in Singapore. The country would “at least do what the Norwegians are doing now, which is 40 percent in diversifying, 60 percent in U.S. Treasuries.”

East Timor is seeking higher-yielding assets as the U.S. dollar fell against major global currencies, boosting the price of imports such as food, with the country’s farmers providing only a third of the rice it needs. The Japanese yen rose 8.5 percent against the dollar this year, and the euro gained 7.1 percent, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The yield on German two-year bonds has widened to 1.78 percentage points more than U.S. Treasuries of the same maturity, Bloomberg data shows. The yields were the same in October.

The number of sovereign wealth funds has surged as Asian nations and oil exporters in the Middle East seek greater returns on their currency reserves by investing in companies. Morgan Stanley estimates the funds’ assets may increase fourfold to $12 trillion by 2015.

`Urgently Diversify’

Some funds have also been hit by the credit crunch that battered financial markets. The Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, the world’s second largest, suffered the worst quarter since it was established in 1998. Investments in the fund, known as The Government Pension Fund – Global, dropped 5.6 percent in value in the first quarter, erasing a 4.3 percent return last year, the central bank said on May 23.

Ramos-Horta, the 1996 co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, favors hiring two or three fund managers to manage the East Timorese fund, reviewing their performance every six months, he said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

“We have to urgently diversify our investments,” he said.

The country will also use state funds to start a “development bank” next year to boost industries such as agriculture, livestock, and fisheries by giving small enterprises access to finance, he added. An independent bank would be set up with about $100 million of capital to offer loans with interest rates of 7 percent to 8 percent, or half of what local banks now charge.

East Timor which became independent in 2002, voted to end Indonesia’s occupation in a 1999 referendum. A former Portuguese colony, the island borders part of Indonesia, and is about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia.

To contact the reporters on this story: Liza Lin in Singapore at Llin15@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: May 26, 2008 02:38 EDT