Fransiska Nangoy, Jakarta Thousands of mine workers at the Indonesian unit of Freeport-McMoRan Inc will extend their strike for another month to protest against layoffs, a union official said on Wednesday.
Up to 6,000 workers will remain on strike, Freeport Indonesia union industrial relations officer Tri Puspital told Reuters, putting Freeport's plan to ramp up output at risk.
Workers started a strike in May after Freeport laid off around 10 percent of its workforce, while the miner negotiates a new mining permit with the government. (ags)
Wamena, Jubi A police officer in Wamena, Jayawijaya allegedly mistreated a minor, Friday afternoon, June 16, 2017. As a result the victim named Albert Nawipa (15) had to be treated at Emergency Installation (IGD) RSUD Wamena.
Yance Tenoye from Jayawijaya Institute for Law and Human Rights Studies and Advocacy said that Albert was beaten by police officers who served in Pasar Potikelek. After got beaten the victim was also told to clean up the post in the market.
"When the family saw and took the child out of the post, saying that the police post was not his place of work and took him out, he was brought home. Arriving at home, the family saw the bleeding from victim's nose and finally took him to Wamena hospitals," he said.
Tenoye regretted the actions of police officers, especially because the victim is under age. He and the families of victims did not understand what cause of the child persecution.
Jayawijaya Police Chief, AKBP Yan Pieter Reba confirmed to have received a report related to the alleged persecution. "I have not been able to give response, since Friday I am preparing for the visit of Kapolda to Wamena," said Kapolres.
Separately, Chairman of Advocacy Network of Law and Human Rights of the Middle Mountains, Theo Hesegem asserted that the police was not professional. Moreover, the victims of abuse are minors and persecuted in Pasar Potikelek. According to him, the officer/police post should be a place to serve and protect the community. (*)
Fardah, Jakarta Over the past several years, labor strikes have hit PT Freeport Indonesia (FI), but the subsidiary of the US mining giant Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold has managed to find win-win solutions to the problems.
Having operated the Grasberg mine in Papua, Indonesia's easternmost province since 1967, PT Freeport Indonesia is into the business of exploration, mining, processing, and worldwide marketing of minerals such as copper, gold, and silver.
PT FI, one of the three biggest gold and copper mines on the planet, has provided jobs to local people and supported developmental programs in Indonesias easternmost province of Papua.
However, since May 1 this year, thousands of PT Freeport workers have been on strike following a dispute between the management and its labor union. The workers of Freeports contractors have also joined the strike. The labor union has even proposed to extend the strike until June 30, 2017.
The dispute began when the government banned the company from exporting copper concentrate as it failed to build a smelter for its minerals. The company was forced to lay off many workers for efficiency as it had to stop production.
As a consequence, PT Freeport and its sub-contract companies fired more than 2.5 thousand workers. The layoff caused major concern for the authorities and the affected workers as well as their families, in particular.
Septinus Soumilena, Head of the Mimika manpower and transmigration office, said his office has tried its best to prevent the layoff by writing to the management of PT Freeport to cancel the layoff, but it was to no avail so far.
The Mimika district government is also ready to act as soon as possible to facilitate a meeting between the management of PT Freeport and the leaders of labor unions.
In fact, a group of workers of PT Freeport Indonesia staged a demonstration in early June in front of the Mimika district administration, demanding interference in their dispute with the management of the mining company.
Many of the striking workers, who have been dismissed after long absence from work, presented a nine-point demand during the demonstration.
Among the points in the demand is that the government should be responsible for settling the working dispute with the management of PT FI.
They demand the government and the company to immediately reemploy the workers without any sanction. The workers include those laid off for efficiency.
They also urged the company management to stop alleged discrimination and criminalization of workers taking part in the strike, unilateral dismissal of workers, and intimidation of the leaders of labor union.
The district administration is asked to facilitate negotiations between the management of the workers. Earlier, the district administration had already facilitated negotiations between the company management and the leaders of the workers, but the meeting ended in a disagreement.
Besides, International Mining Workers Organization IndustriALL Global Union has sought to draw high-level attention to the protracted dispute between Freeport Indonesia and its striking workers.
A local labor union leader Tri Puspita remarked that IndustriALL Global Union has sent a letter to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and to Freeport McMoRun leader Richard Adkerson in the United States to step in and settle the dispute.
"IndustriALL Global Union sent a letter to Jokowi on May 24, 2017, asking the Indonesian government to handle the labor problem in PT Freeport Indonesia. Letters are also sent to a number of related ministries and state agencies," Tri Puspita explained.
It has also sent similar letter to Adkerson, leader of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, the parent company of PT Freeport Indonesia.
Secretary General of IndustriALL Global Union Valter Sanches, in his letter, urged Jokowi to ask the management of PT Freeport to give back the rights to the workers. Sanches stated that PT Freeport has to re-employ those workers who have been dismissed earlier, including those dismissed over furlough program.
Tri asked the government to step in to settle the problem especially there has been no attempt made for negotiations between the management of the company and leaders of the labor union after the last meeting end of April. "We have been asked to return to work. In principle we want to work again but on condition, there is no layoff," Tri said.
PT Freeport Indonesia's spokesman Riza Pratama said the management has twice asked the workers to return to work although they have been absent for five days.
The management said it would not reemploy workers who have repeated committing offenses despite warnings and sanctions especially those trying to intimidate loyal workers.
Meanwhile, the Papua Police has said it can solely protect and maintain security in PT Freeport Indonesia in Papua while a strike is ongoing but will not interfere in the company's labor problem.
The solution to the manpower problem should be in line with Law No 13 of 2003 and its derivative regulations, Chief of the Papua Provincial Police Inspector General Boy Rafli stated in Mimika, recently.
The deployment of police personnel around the company is solely to protect it and ensure that thousands of striking workers do not commit actions that could disadvantage others, he remarked.
"There has been a tripartite effort. For the labor problem particularly, there is a clear ruling in the Law on Manpower," he added. He urged striking workers to abide by the law and to maintain order and security.(*)
Jayapura, Jubi Papua House of Representative Commission I in charge of government, politics, law and human rights urged PT Freeport Indonesia to stop the employees' lay off.
Member of the House Commission I, Laurenzus Kadepa consider Freeport has gone too far for laying off its employees. The company is now casually laying off workers who demand what is rightfully and cannot be fulfilled by the company.
"Responding SPSI demo with layoffs is not a solution," said Kadepa on Monday (June 12). He warn the company for not acting authoritarian by responding the demands of employees with deployment of security forces.
"I support the actions and SPSI' demands. We also ask for no more layoffs. Hire back the laid-off employees. Freeport has pocketed the IUPK from the government so the company's demands have been fulfilled by government. What else is the company looking for?" he said.
While the Mimika Regent, Eltinus Omaleng stated that 2,800 people who involve in the strike and staged protest were no longer have the status of employees in PT Freeport Indonesia.
"They are no longer employees of Freeport since they have no IDs and conducted no activities in the work place, they are not registered as active employees in the company," Omaleng said last weekend.
According to him, the government has no right in this disputes. The government can only facilitate companies, employees and SPSI of Mimika Regency. (*)
Jakarta Aceh's Lhokseumawe Police arrested on Saturday nine alleged gamblers including two village heads and a village official at a food stall in Blang Raya village in Muara Dua district, Lhokseumawe.
Comr. Ahzan, coordinator of the Lhokseumawe Police's "star team," said the arrests were based on reports from nearby residents who claimed that the food stall had been doubling as a gambling den.
"The team walked for 50 meters to prevent their arrival from being noticed by the gamblers," Ahzan said as quoted by kompas.com.
The two village heads are identified as MH, 40, from Kuta Makmur district in North Aceh; and SA, 34, from West Baktiya district, also in North Aceh. An administrative official from a village in Kuta Makmur identified as DA, 34, was also arrested.
"We confiscated seven boxes of domino cards, two decks of playing cards and cash worth Rp 11.8 million [US$887.35]," Ahzan said, adding that police also seized their belongings, which included six wallets, six cellular phones and four motorbikes.
Ahzan said the suspects had been taken to the Lhokseumawe Police precinct for further investigation. Gambling is prohibited under Aceh's sharia law, with violators sentenced to public canings as punishment. (yon/bbs)
Jakarta The Jakarta Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) has apologized to the National News Agency (LKBN) Antara and its reporter Ricky Prayoga, a victim of alleged misconduct by several of its members.
Ricky said he was abused by the Brimob members while covering the Indonesia Open Super Series badminton tournament in the Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) on Sunday. Ricky said he was dragged by force from a queue for an ATM and around the event location at about 3 p.m. on Sunday
"This case is shameful. On behalf of the Jakarta Police Mobile Brigade head, I beg pardon. We realize that our members made a mistake," Jakarta Brimob deputy commander Adj. Sr. Comr Heru Novianto said at Wisma Antara in Central Jakarta on Monday.
Heru said one officer First Brig. Adam Nasution and four of his colleagues were under internal investigation. He said if they were found guilty of abuse, they would receive disciplinary punishments. He said his members had acted excessively.
"They [Adam and Ricky] first looked at each other. Adam questioned why Ricky was looking at him and said it was forbidden. Adam is very young and he might have been in a bad mood," Heru explained.
Meanwhile, Antara president director Meidyatama Suryodiningrat expressed his appreciation for the Jakarta Brimob's quick response.
"I thank Jakarta Brimob for their sincere apology. Although there hasn't yet been any conclusion to their internal investigation, we appreciate [Brimob's] comprehensive investigation [into the case]," Meidyatama said. (dra)
Jakarta Members of the Golkar Party reported dozens of unidentified men disrupted a breaking-of-the-fast event at the party's headquarters in Slipi, West Jakarta, on Friday night.
The men reportedly tried to take down banners and flags representing the party's supporting organizations in front of the office. When a security guard tried to stop them, one of the men got angry and fired a gun into the air several times.
"The incident is under investigation. The security guards are being questioned," Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said on Saturday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
Argo said the person who reportedly fired the shots could be charged under the 1951 Emergency Law, which carries a maximum punishment of more than five years' imprisonment.
"We will not get involved in the party's conflicts, we are only investigating the incident," he said.
The Golkar members who reported the case on Friday night were led by Avner Raweyai. He brought bullet casings, wood and torn flags as evidence. (dra/wit)
Haeril Halim, Wonosobo, Central Java President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo told students in Wonosobo and Temanggung regencies, Central Java, on Saturday to study hard, pray and respect differences as part of his campaign to reintroduce Pancasila values.
Jokowi was in Wonosobo and Temanggung to distribute around 2,000 Indonesia Smart Cards (KIP) to students as part of his three-day working visit in the province that started on Thursday.
Each elementary student receives Rp 450,000 (US$33.8) per year through the program, while a junior high school student gets Rp 750,000 and a senior high school student Rp 1 million.
Distributing KIPs has been a part of Jokowi's work trip in a move to step up efforts to achieve the government's target of distributing cards to 17.9 million students across the country.
As part of the Pancasila campaign, Jokowi gave quizzes and awarded bicycles to students who could recite the five principles of Pancasila. The Presidents said he hoped that KIPs could encourage students to study hard so that in the future they could face global competition in various sectors.
"Students, you have you study diligently and don't forget to pray," Jokowi said. He went on: "Students, this country is very big as it has 34 provinces, 516 regencies and cities, 17,000 islands. We are very diverse."
From Temanggung, Jokowi will fly to Semarang where the presidential aircraft awaits to take him back to Jakarta after breaking-the-fast in the city. (ary)
Ni Komang Erviani, Denpasar Hundreds of doctors from across Bali gathered in Denpasar on Saturday to pledge allegiance to the national ideology of Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution.
"The threat the nation is facing has become more real. Our diversity is in danger. We can no longer stay silent. We have to make movement before it is too late," said Wimpie Pangkahila, the chairman of the Stovia Bali Forum, which organized the event.
The gathering was held at Sanglah Hospital and attended by doctors from all hospitals and professors from all medical schools in Bali.
The Stovia Bali Forum, Wimpie said, was initiated following a national meeting of doctors on June 1 at the National Awakening Museum in Jakarta. Stovia is the name of a medical school during the Dutch colonial period.
"Besides doctors, Stovia also produced many figures that led the independence movement and helped lay down the foundation of Indonesia. We have to use their spirit to defend Pancasila and fight those who want to destroy it," Wimpie said.
The head of the Badung chapter of the Indonesian Doctor Association (IDI), Gede Putra Suteja, said many doctors were expected to disseminate Pancasila values to their patients. He added that doctors had been sworn in to uphold Pancasila values, the 1945 Constitution, the national motto of Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity and Diversity) and the unity of the republic of Indonesia. "So, this is actually not a new thing," he said. (ary)
Jakarta Local governments may need to double their contributions to the country's universal health insurance this year, to prevent the collapse of the state-run health care system, a minister said.
BPJS Kesehatan, the insurer, has seen its deficit widening almost trifold, to Rp 9.7 trillion ($728.23 million) last year, since its introduction in 2014.
"Basically, we need all parties to shoulder the cost of BPJS Kesehatan, so it would not become too heavy," Coordinating Political and Security Affairs Minister Puan Maharani said on Wednesday (21/06).
Puan said the country's 34 provinces and 531 districts should increase their contributions to BPJS Kesehatan to 10 percent of their regional budgets, from 5 percent today.
The insurer was designed to run with premiums collected from all Indonesians. On top of that, the governments pay subsidies to cover the premiums for the poor.
While all working Indonesians are obliged to join BPJS Kesehatan, only some of them actually pay. A study from the University of Indonesia shows that what BPJS Kesehatan actually pays for one person in health expenses has been, on average, more than triple the premiums they collected from each individual.
Academics suggest that the government should impose the highest tariff on cigarettes, as they cause cancer and respiratory diseases which are now among the biggest expenses borne by BPJS Kesehatan. The proceeds from the excise should be enough to cover the health insurance deficit.
Without specifics, Puan said the government also considers "cost sharing for diseases that carry a potential moral hazard," to plug the deficit.
Other options include increasing the premiums and the government's subsidy for illnesses that need prolonged hospitalization, Puan said, adding that the government may combine all of the options to make a workable policy.
BPJS collected Rp 17.49 trillion from premiums in the January-March period, up 17 percent from the same period last year. Of the insurer's funds, 93.4 percent were in time deposits, with the remainder in bonds, as required by law.
Last year, the insurer collected Rp 67.5 trillion from premiums, up 25 percent from a year earlier. BPJS Kesehatan targets to cover 175 million Indonesian by the end of 2017, up from 164 million last year.
Jewel Topsfield, Sumatra Aldi? Rizal is known around the world as "Indonesia's smoking baby".
Shocking footage of the toddler precociously puffing on fags went viral on YouTube and became a symbol of the smoking crisis in a country described as a last Eden for tobacco manufacturers.
Six years after two-year-old Aldi started sneaking ciggies while his mother sold fish at the market, Fairfax Media tracked him down in the remote village of Teluk Kemang in South Sumatra. Now almost nine and in fourth grade, Aldi is one of the world's youngest reformed smokers.
"I kept watching people smoking and it looked delicious. It feels good when smoking. But now I think chocolate is better than smoking," Aldi tells us.
He quit four years ago with the assistance of famous child psychologist and TV personality Dr Seto Mulyadi. It was an arduous struggle and one that saw Aldi initially swap cigarettes for food, leading to a fresh battle to control his ballooning weight.
"After he quit smoking, he ate a lot whenever he felt like smoking," says Aldi's mother, Diana Rizal.
"He would eat three chicken legs at one meal, three bowls of bakso (meatball soup) at once, one tin of condensed milk in the morning and one at night. If I said to eat less, he would throw tantrums and threaten to go back to smoking. So I just let him eat what he wanted. His weight got out of control then."
When Aldi started school, kids made fun of his huge lunch box. He began to cut down on the size of his meals and his weight is now under control.
The infamous "Indonesian smoking baby" YouTube videos raised international awareness about the alarmingly high child smoking rate in Indonesia: 20 per cent of Indonesians aged 13 to 15 smoke according to the 2014 Global Youth Tobacco Survey.
But now health experts are alarmed that a controversial bill before parliament aimed at increasing cigarette production will roll back regulations discouraging smoking in Indonesia.
"My parents know I smoke, they don't mind. My parents only ask for one thing, I don't inhale glue. I smoke, but I am not addicted to it. It's just like candy. I can stop anytime."
Indonesia and three other tobacco-producing countries have also appealed against Australia's world-first cigarette plain packaging laws to the World Trade Organisation, arguing they created an illegal trade barrier. The final ruling is expected next month but a leaked draft reportedly found in Australia's favour.
Aldi's internet notoriety meant that Diana was pilloried for being a bad mother. She blames herself, in part, for Aldi smoking at such a young age because she craved cigarettes while pregnant, whereas with her other children her cravings had been for sour fruits and green mangoes.
But Diana also tells us of her struggle to get Aldi to quit in the middle of a fishing village where smoking is ubiquitous and villagers would give him money to buy cigarettes because he was "cute and funny".
"The first thing I did was confiscate the cigarettes and he would throw a tantrum. He started banging his head, he stabbed himself in the knee with a knife," she says. "He woke at 3am and started demanding cigarettes."
Diana says she tried every method available to make him quit including hot ointment on cigarette tips and taking Aldi to an isolated river house. "He said: 'If you don't give me a cigarette I will jump'. I thought, like other kids, it was just an empty threat. He jumped."
She shows us the scar on his head. "There was blood everywhere. After that I caved in. If he wanted cigarettes he got cigarettes." It was not until a local journalist reported the case to Dr Seto that Aldi received two months of therapy in Jakarta and managed to quit.
Like many a reformed smoker, Aldi now warns of the difficulties of quitting. He wants to be a doctor and tells his dad to stub out his cigarettes: "I quit and you didn't," he tells him. "If we smoke, we will ruin our lives," he says. "Nerves and brain, all will be ruined. Throat, teeth..."
On the main road of Aldi's village of Teluk Kemang, an enormous billboard blocks the sky advertising Sampoerna the leading tobacco company in Indonesia and part of Philip Morris International. "Size is important," the slogan says.
Increasing restrictions in countries such as Australia means Indonesia where public smoking and cigarette advertising are largely unregulated is one of the final frontiers for Big Tobacco.
Point-of-sale advertising here is startling after coming from Australia where cigarettes are banned from even being displayed in shops.
In Indonesia TV screens above rows of cigarettes in mini-marts have commercials on endless replay. Cigarette ads ranked fifth in television advertising spending in 2016.
"We [Australia] banned tobacco advertising 25 years ago but in Indonesia it's rampant," says Mike Daube, a professor of health policy at Curtin University. "Any controls are notional where kids are heavily exposed to cigarette adverts that make smoking seem cool and glamorous."
A 2015 survey found 85 per cent of schools in five cities in Indonesia including the capital of Jakarta were surrounded by cigarette ads.
Daube does not mince his words. "I think Indonesia is a public health nightmare," he says. "It's just desperately depressing. When you look at the magnitude of the problem it is quite catastrophic. Even with conservative estimates we are looking at 200,000 deaths a year caused by smoking."
Cigarettes are also among the cheapest in the world here. A pack of Marlboro one of the most expensive brands will set you back just 25,000 rupiah (about $2.50). Single sticks, known as loosies, are sold at roadside stalls for the equivalent of a few cents.
Thirteen-year-old Sandi Saputra works nights at a nasi goreng (fried rice) stall in Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra, and attends school by day. He earns the equivalent of $2.50 a night, most of which he gives to his parents, but has a bit of leftover pocket money to spend on loosies.
"I started smoking when I was in first grade, seven years old, because everybody was smoking, all my friends," he says. "My parents know I smoke, they don't mind. My parents only ask for one thing, I don't inhale glue. I smoke, but I am not addicted to it. It's just like candy. I can stop anytime."
While smoking is decreasing globally, it is increasing here. Indonesia already has the highest male smoking rate in the world 67 per cent according to the 2011 Global Adult Tobacco Survey although for cultural reasons the female smoking rate is much lower.
About one-third of the population of 250 million smokes, compared with 12 per cent of Australians.
In 2014 Indonesia began mandating that 40 per cent of cigarette packets must be covered with the sort of graphic pictorial health warnings cancerous mouths and tracheotomy holes familiar to Australian smokers.
It was a rare victory for anti-smoking activists in a country where health reforms pose a dilemma because the tobacco industry is a significant part of the economy. Indonesia is the fifth-largest tobacco leaf producer in the world and Sampoerna its largest taxpayer.
It is one of only a few nations not a signatory to the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which stipulates that government policies be protected from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.
The 2016 Tobacco Industry Interference Index found Indonesia had the highest level of tobacco industry participation and interference in government policy in the ASEAN region. "There is currently a pro-tobacco bill in Parliament for debate which serves to protect tobacco farmers rather than public health," it says.
The bill seeks to triple cigarette production to 524 billion by 2020. "If passed, this bill has the potential to roll back the few achievements in tobacco control such as the pictorial health warnings currently applied on cigarette packs."
This has raised alarm bells within Indonesia's health ministry. "The problem now is that many of our children are smoking," says director for health promotion Dedi Kuswenda.
He says the health ministry would like to see the warnings enlarged to cover 75 per cent of packs and then move to plain packaging. "In Australia more people are not smoking now. But it is as if we [Indonesia] are becoming a cigarette sale area. At the end of the day it is about increasing profit when we need to be healthy."
But Syarif Abdullah Alkadrie, one of the parliamentarians debating the proposed new law, says the bill is about protecting tobacco farmers. He says 50 per cent of Indonesia's tobacco is imported and lawmakers want this restricted to 20 per cent. "We must look at this issue from both sides," he says. "A lot of people earn their living from tobacco."
The Indonesian government has made no secret of its irritation with Australia over the plain packaging laws. A final ruling on the WTO appeal, expected next month, is predicted to uphold Australia's argument that the rules don't violate trade laws because they qualify as a legitimate public health measure.
But it will come at a sensitive time. Australia and Indonesia are negotiating a free trade deal slated to be concluded by the end of the year and Indonesia is already angry about dumping duties slapped on its A4 paper exports.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita "joked" to his Australian counterpart, Steven Ciobo, that he would consider requiring Australian wine sold in Indonesia to pass halal certification and use plain packaging in retaliation. "I deliver it in a light way though, and it was just an expression of my resentment," he was quoted as saying in The Jakarta Post.
Smoking has long been a vexed issue in Indonesia. A 2009 fatwa prohibiting smoking in public places or by pregnant women and children was the most controversial ever issued by Indonesia's highest Islamic clerical body.
"So far we have always been able to come to the same conclusion, with no dissenting opinion except for once, when we issued a fatwa on smoking," Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Ma'ruf Amin told Fairfax Media earlier this year. "We argued for two days and could not come to a solid conclusion. Some agreed to smoking and some did not."
The local variant of cigarettes Kretek are a source of national pride. A mixture of tobacco and cloves, they lend the streets of Indonesia a distinctive sweet smell.
Aditia Purnomo and Muhammad Nur Azami are members of the smokers' rights group Komunitas Kretek. Both were activists Azami a "green" warrior" and Aditia involved in the labour movement who happened to smoke and became angry about regulations they felt discriminated against smokers. "So we decided to fight back against the government," Aditia says. "It [smoking] is a human right."
Aditia says the first major anti-smoking campaign was by Hitler's Nazis, who wanted to protect the health of the Aryan master race. He believes it hypocritical of the government to regulate smoking while reaping tax benefits from its revenue: "If health is a priority, just say smoking is illegal."
In the past, Aditia says, people believed Kretek could be used as medicine to treat flu or coughing because they contained cloves. He still believes they have some benefits, but acknowledges there are also side effects.
Azami's black T-shirt is emblazoned with the slogan "Kretek are not cigarettes". He says the anti-tobacco movement serves the interests of the health industry that produces nicotine patches and electronic cigarettes. "It's not fair only tobacco products have pictorial warnings. What about junk food, KFC, McDonalds, children driving motorbikes?"
The June edition of global trade magazine Tobacco Reporter carries a story, "Trouble in Paradise", which notes that Indonesia's tobacco industry is facing new challenges. It points out the nation's two largest cities Jakarta and Surabaya have moved to make indoor places smoke-free.
Notwithstanding that "Indonesia's tobacco control efforts are half-hearted and the government's attitude towards the sector remains ambivalent", Tobacco Reporter says, the country is slowly moving to a more restrictive environment.
"It is only a matter of time before the country's tobacco industry will be operating in the same conditions that have long been common in other parts of the world."
Perhaps the remarkable story of Bone-Bone, a tiny village in South Sulawesi with a population of 800, provides a glimpse into this future.
In 2000, former hamlet head Idris, who ran a small warung (roadside stall), noticed villagers were spending big chunks of their incomes on cigarettes. "They were just wasting their money," he tells us.
Idris approached village leaders to discuss how to stop smoking. The first step was an initially unpopular proposal that the village warungs stop selling cigarettes. Within six months all eight had signed up.
Smoking was then banned in public places. No smoking signs were posted everywhere with horrible pictures of blackened lungs. "One kid went home crying. He said he didn't want his dad's lungs to turn black like in the pictures."
Idris preached against smoking during Friday prayers. He even offered cash incentives to children to dob in their parents. "By 2007 there were no more smokers," Idris says.
"The village then issued a regulation that smoking was not allowed." Transgressors and there have only been two villagers caught to date have to confess over the mosque speaker.
Even visitors are not immune to the ban. Local government officers who smoked in Bone-Bone ironically there to promote health programs were fined up to 1 million rupiah ($100).
"Villagers can see the effect of not smoking," Idris says. "They are healthier and no more children have to drop out of school because now their parents can afford to send them."
Craig P. Oehlers At an event at the Indonesian Consulate in New York in June, visiting Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs of Indonesia General (rtd) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan addressed the young Indonesian university students who were among the crowd.
His message to these potential future leaders and entrepreneurs of the world's fourth most populous nation was clear work overseas for a few years after graduation, obtain as much professional experience and knowledge, and then bring these assets back for the benefit of Indonesia.
This was not empty political rhetoric, but rather an implicit recognition of Indonesia's ongoing skills shortage Southeast Asia's largest economy has been facing skills gaps in key sectors such as technology, tourism and engineering.
At the same time, the number of Indonesian students enrolled in educational institutions in the US has risen to almost 9,000, a 6.6 per cent increase over the previous year, according to figures published by US-based International Educational Exchange.
This strong growth carries the risk that some of Indonesia's best and brightest will be tempted to remain overseas indefinitely. According to Indonesia Service Dialogue Council deputy executive director IBP Angga Antagia, this is a concern as "the transfer of knowledge (from overseas) is necessary for (Indonesia's) competitiveness in the current era of globalisation."
While skills shortages are not a new phenomenon in Indonesia, the current situation facing Indonesians studying in the US is. Indonesian students in US universities have felt caught between two ideologically-opposed populist movements in the US and in Indonesia respectively.
On the one hand, the election of Donald Trump in November 2016 and the perceived anti-Muslim and anti-immigration undertones of his presidency have distressed many Indonesian students in the US, including in Trump's hometown of New York.
Daud, a Muslim postgraduate student from Jakarta studying in New York said, "When Trump first attempted to introduce the travel ban, I was on holiday in Indonesia and so I became worried that I wouldn't be allowed back into the US to finish my course."
Muslim students have not been alone in their anxieties. Stephanie, also a postgraduate student from Jakarta but raised a Catholic, said Trump's election initially made her question her pre-conceptions of the US as being a champion for human rights and women's empowerment, and hence whether she had made the right decision to study there.
At the same time, members of the Indonesian student diaspora in New York have watched with dismay the political events that have unfolded in Jakarta over the last 12 months, such as the sentencing of Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison on blasphemy charges.
Students who sympathised with Ahok have perceived strong undercurrents of racial and religious intolerance in some of the demonstrations and vociferous public criticisms of him.
In particular, the prominence of hardline Islamist actors such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is viewed by some Indonesian students in New York as a potential threat to the national ideals of Pancasila (Indonesia's five founding principles) and Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity).
A striking commonality of the Trump campaign and the anti-Ahok movement has been the frequent use of populist tactics. Both have been accused of scapegoating minorities, encouraging religious intolerance, and exploiting fears that the elite are indifferent to the concerns of the grassroots.
Despite concerns about populist politics in both countries, there is an important difference in the minds of Indonesian students residing in New York.
From their perspective, New York is a stronghold against pockets of xenophobic nationalism elsewhere in the US. Many Indonesian students, regardless of race and religion, currently perceive New York to be a safe environment in which they can freely express their political views and criticisms without fear of recrimination or being stereotyped.
In contrast, Indonesian students of various political allegiances have felt that certain political events in Jakarta, such as the gubernatorial election in April, had been dominated by issues of race and religion at the expense of free debate about policy.
For Agnes (not her real name), an Ahok supporter who has been active among Indonesian university student groups in New York, the public discourse has become too simplistic in certain aspects.
"It has seemed (among some segments in Jakarta) that if you did not support Ahok, then the assumption was you were prejudiced or religiously intolerant... which was not necessarily true."
Fears of being stereotyped have occasionally suppressed online debate about government policies. According to Daud, "Even educated people who I knew disagreed with some of Ahok's urban development policies wouldn't share their views online for fear (of being categorised as racist or religiously intolerant)."
Conversely, Shofi, a Muslim postgraduate student who has lived in Jakarta, has heard first-hand accounts of educated Muslim professionals in Jakarta having capitulated to pressure to vote against Ahok due to perceived religious loyalties.
These impediments to free speech, and tensions within Jakartan society, have the potential to be a disincentive for Indonesian students to return home, regardless of ethnic or religious background.
Amy, an Indonesian Chinese who grew up in Jakarta but has studied in New York for almost two years, said "my feelings on whether to remain in New York after graduation or return home have shifted back and forth over the last 12 months" in response to the ebb and flow of political turbulence in the US and Indonesia respectively. Overall, she has felt more comfortable in New York as she perceives "greater solidarity among New Yorkers."
Shofi, despite being a member of the Indonesia's Muslim majority, feels it will be difficult to adjust back to Jakartan society as she will face resistance to her more "liberal views" in the current political and religious climate. This issue, in addition to professional reasons, underpins her plans to remain longer in New York.
Some Indonesian students in New York, who are scholarship recipients, are obligated to temporarily return to Indonesia after graduation.
However, in the era of increasing global labour mobility, relying on scholarship commitments is not a long-term solution for governments seeking to retain high-skilled talent. Policy-makers and community leaders in Indonesia will need to address not only any economic disincentives, but also the domestic socio-political issues that concern many Indonesian students overseas.
Jakarta The House of Representatives' team tasked with conducting an inquiry into the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is set to schedule a meeting with the National Police to clear up what the team says are misunderstandings about its goal.
Inquiry team deputy chairman Risa Mariska said the meeting with the police was important to clarify that the team's goal was to improve the antigraft body instead of weaken it as many parties had perceived.
"We want to improve the KPK's work performance so what the commission is still lacking can be improved and this institution can continue to exist," said Risa, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker, as quoted by Antara.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian previously said the force was not likely to fulfill the team's order to forcefully bring in former Hanura lawmaker Miryam S. Haryani, a witness in the electronic-ID graft case, to the House to attend a questioning for the inquiry, saying that the order had no legal basis.
The House launched the inquiry into the KPK after Miryam claimed she had been intimidated by KPK investigators during a questioning.
In a questioning at the KPK, Miryam said several lawmakers had received portions of the money obtained through graft in the e-ID procurement process. Later in a court hearing in March she withdrew the statement, saying that she had made it under intimidation from KPK investigators.
In another hearing, senior KPK investigator Novel Baswedan said Miryam had instead been intimidated by several lawmakers who asked her to deny that some of the e-ID money had landed in their pockets. (saf/ebf)
Jakarta The National Police are hoping that the help of a key witness to the acid attack against Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan will reveal the real perpetrators behind the heinous crime.
National Police spokesperson Insp.Gen. Setyo Wasisto said investigators still needed to probe further into the testimony of the witness, who they believe will be helpful in uncovering Novel's attacker. Setyo has refused to reveal the identity of the witness.
He believes the witness can describe the physical characteristics of the perpetrator, who remains unknown. The witness directly saw the attack committed against Novel on April 11.
"[The testimony] will be followed up by the National Police's Inafis [Indonesia Automatic Fingerprint Identification System] personnel to sketch what the face of the perpetrator might look like," Setyo said as quoted by Kompas.com on Wednesday. "From the sketch, we might get a fuller picture [of the perpetrator]," he added.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian earlier said there was a new witness who had directly observed the acid attack against Novel. The key witness is now under the police protection for safety reasons. (afr/ebf)
Jakarta A member of the House of Representatives inquiry committee into the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), Mukhamad Misbakhun, has suggested that House Commission III overseeing legal affairs may halt deliberation of the 2018 budgets for the KPK and the National Police.
The statement came after the KPK refused to allow graft suspect and former Hanura Party lawmaker Miryam S. Haryani, a key witness in the multi-trillion e-ID card graft case who it has in custody, appear before the inquiry committee for questioning.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian also previously stated that he would not follow the committee's request to summon Miryam by force as she was in KPK custody and under investigation.
Miskbakhun, a Golkar Party politician, said such a summons was regulated under the 2014 Legislative Bodies Law.
"If they disobey the law, I will request Commission III postpone the budget allocations for the National Police and the KPK. The inquiry committee has currently been discussing this," he said in Jakarta on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com. "I ask the National Police chief to be careful when making statements," he said.
Misbakhun denied that the suggestion was a threat aimed at the police and the KPK, saying that the inquiry members just "used their authority."
The KPK previously said allowing Miryam to appear before the inquiry committee could obstruct the ongoing investigation into the multi-trillion rupiah e-ID case. The KPK also cited its position as an independent body that should be free from any interference. (ecn/bbs)
Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested five people in Bengkulu on Tuesday, including Bengkulu Governor Ridwan Mukti and his wife Lili Madarati, the latter of whom allegedly accepted Rp 1 billion (US$75,200) in bribes from a contractor.
"She was arrested because she allegedly accepted bribes for a project. The KPK team has brought Lili to Jakarta," the head of the Bengkulu Police criminal investigation department, Sr. Comr. Herman, said as reported by kompas.com. Personnel from the Bengkulu Police were reportedly involved in the operation that led to the arrests.
Meanwhile, Golkar Party secretary general Idrus Marham said he talked to the chairman of Golkar's Bengkulu chapter, Imron Rosyadi, to monitor the case and provide legal assistance to Ridwan, who is a Golkar member.
"One of the principles Golkar adopted was that if a member was involved in a case, the party's central executive board will have the head of its law and human rights division oversee and assist the individual in question to make sure the legal process is done justly," he said in Jakarta on Tuesday as reported by kompas.com.
Ridwan and Lili, as well as three other persons arrested in the operation, were brought to the KPK headquarters in Jakarta. It was the second operation in Bengkulu and the fifth in Indonesia conducted by the KPK this month. (ecn/bbs)
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta The House of Representatives' committee inquiring into the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has insisted that the antigraft body should let detained graft suspect and former Hanura Party lawmaker Miryam S. Haryani comply with the committee's summons.
"We know that we and the KPK have different stances on this matter, but the KPK should at least offer an alternative solution or a middle way. For example, it can facilitate us to come [to KPK's detention center where Miryam is detained]," said a committee member from the United Development Party (PPP), Arsul Sani.
Miryam was named a perjury suspect after she allegedly gave false testimony during a trial involving the multi-trillion rupiah e-ID case.
The indictments in the case alleged the involvement of other lawmakers, including House Speaker Setya Novanto and several members of the committee inquiry.
The team summoned Miryam on Monday to find out whether she had actually complained that she had been intimidated by several lawmakers who asked her to retract the statements she made to KPK investigators.
However, the KPK refused to let her comply with the summons on the grounds that it could harm the ongoing investigations into her case and the e-ID case. The House's summons, the KPK said in a written letter to the committee, constituted an "obstruction of justice."
"There should be non-formal communication [between the inquiry team and KPK]," Arsul said. (bbs)
Jakarta Hundreds of professors from Indonesia's top universities have declared support for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) while it is undergoing a controversial inquiry by the House of Representatives.
A political science professor with Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM), Muhadjir Darwin, said the declaration was endorsed by 152 professors from 22 universities, including the University of Indonesia (UI), the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) and Bandung-based Padjadjaran University.
"We call on President Joko ['Jokowi'] Widodo, as well as political parties and legislative leaders, to remain important parts of the efforts to eradicate corruption [...] the inquiry should be cancelled because the procedure is legally incorrect," it states.
"We reiterate that we will remain supportive of the KPK, which is the hope for a cleaner Indonesia."
Muhadjir said the move was made especially after reformasi activist and National Mandate Party (PAN) founder Amien Rais pushed toward supporting the establishment of the inquiry following a court hearing that implicated him in a graft case. In addition, Amien has also blatantly accused the KPK of being a "rotten" institution.
He also said that the House of Representatives was using the inquiry because several of its members had been implicated in the e-KTP graft case, making the public give more support to the KPK.
"These kind of things will not cause public distrust of the KPK. Instead, support from the public grows, including from us," he said, adding that parties that support the inquiry could lose votes ahead of the 2019 elections. (ecn/bbs)
Jakarta Leaders of Pemuda Muhammadiyah, the youth wing of Muhammadiyah, the country's second largest Islamic organization, paid a visit to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) on Monday to show their support for the antigraft body, which is currently at risk of being curtailed by House of Representatives lawmakers through an inquiry.
This is the latest show of support from the public after the House launched an inquiry into the KPK. In the inquiry, the lawmakers plan to summon Miryam S. Haryani for questioning. Miryam is a politician from the Hanura Party currently being detained by the KPK.
"We invite the KPK to ignore the House's inquiry. We believe the establishment of the [House] committee [overseeing the inquiry] is against the law and contrary to our political and moral values," said Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, the chairman of Pemuda Muhammadiyah, after meeting with KPK officials on Monday. "This is a systematic effort to weaken the KPK," Dhanil added.
Miryam is being investigated by the KPK for engaging in alleged perjury surrounding the high-profile e-ID case that implicates dozens of her fellow lawmakers. The House has insisted that they have the right to question Miryam to clarify whether or not she had been pressured by some lawmakers to give false testimony to KPK investigators. (yon/ipa)
Jakarta National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has said he will investigate top Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigator Novel Baswedan's claim that a high-ranking police official was behind an acid attack in which he fell victim to.
The police chief said he would follow up on the allegation, but added that Novel must reveal the name of the high-ranking police official he referred to and show evidence to support his claim.
"That's what is important. Name the person, and where's the evidence?" Tito said as quoted by kompas.com on Friday.
In an interview with TIME magazine, Novel claimed he had received information that "a police general a high-level police official was involved" in the attack. Tito said the police would be transparent in investigating Novel's claim.
"But if there is no evidence to support his claim, then certainly I deplore [his statement] because it tarnished the image of the police," he said. (ary)
Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must pay "serious attention" to the allegation made by top corruption investigator Novel Baswedan that a high-ranking police officer was behind the severe acid attack on him, a Muslim activist said.
"It is important for President Joko Widodo to directly lead the fight by creating a joint fact-finding team involving credible figures who are trusted by the public," Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, chairman of Muhammadiyah's youth wing organization, told kompas.com Friday. Muhammadiyah is the country's second-largest Muslim organization.
Novel, who underwent treatment in Singapore following the incident in April, told TIME magazine recently that he had received information that "a police general a high-level police official was involved" in the attack on him. "Given this [allegation], the case cannot be handled by the police," Dahnil said.
Top KPK officials are due to meet National Police leaders next week to discuss the latter's investigation into the incident, which came amid a series of scuffles between the antigraft body and the House of Representatives.
Some pro-government political parties have initiated an inquiry into KPK following the extensive investigation by the latter into a gigantic electronic ID corruption case that has implicated numerous political bigwigs including House speaker and Golkar Party chairman Setya Novanto. (mos)
Jakarta The Jakarta Corruption Court has sentenced former health minister Siti Fadilah Supari to four years in prison after finding her guilty of accepting bribes in the state-funded procurement of medical equipment.
"We also ordered the defendant to pay Rp 200 million (US$15,042) in fines or serve an additional two months in prison," presiding judge Ibnu Basuki read out the verdict on Friday.
Siti was proven guilty of abusing her authority in the procurement of medical equipment for the Center for Health Problems (PPMK) in 2005, causing more than Rp 6 billion in state losses.
Siti is also said to have accepted bribes amounting to Rp 1.9 billion and Rp 1.3 billion, respectively, from PT Graha Ismaya finance director Sri Wahyuningsih and the same company's president director, Masrizal Achmad Syarif, in the form of traveler's checks.
Apart from the fines, Siti must return an outstanding Rp 550 million to the state after previously returning Rp 1.35 billion, as required in the sentencing of her subordinate, Rustam Pakaya.
Rustam, a former health ministry crisis center chief, was found guilty of abusing his authority in the medical equipment procurement for the crisis center in 2007, causing Rp 21.3 billion in state losses. Rustam was also sentenced to four years in prison.
When reporters asked whether she would appeal the verdict, Siti answered: "I don't know. I don't think so." (kuk/dmr)
Jakarta Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and National Police leaders will hold a meeting next week to discuss the latter's investigation into the acid attack on ace KPK investigator Novel Baswedan.
"The meeting will be held on Monday or Tuesday either at the KPK or the National Police headquarters," KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif told reporters on Thursday.
The planned meeting came following an explosive allegation by Novel that a high-ranking police officer was involved in plotting the attack against him.
It has been more than two months after unidentified men threw acid in Novel's face, injuring his face and eyes, but the police have yet to name a single suspect in the case.
In an interview with TIME magazine, Novel claimed that he had received information that "a police general a high-level police official was involved" in the attack on him. Novel is currently undergoing treatment on his left eye in Singapore.
The KPK and the police were involved in a series of conflicts in the past, mostly triggered by the former's moves to charge high-ranking police officers with graft.
Laode, however, asserted that Novel's damning allegation would not affect relations between the two institutions as top officials from the two institutions had been intensively communicating, especially with regard to the police's investigation into Novel's case. (kuk/ary)
The full text of the TIME interview can be read here: http://time.com/4815928/indonesia-corruption-novel-baswedan-graft-KPK/
Jakarta Indonesian Military, or TNI, Chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said TNI will stand ready to help police stop the spread of radical ideologies and terrorism, as instructed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Monday (19/06) during a fast-breaking event at the TNI headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta.
"Should the police need anything, we will be ready to assist them," Gatot said. He said TNI has already lent support to prevent the spread of radical and extremist ideologies as requested by the president.
According to Gatot, preventing the spread of radicalism is the responsibility of everyone in the country. He said the public can pitch in by following the principles of Pancasila in their daily lives and by encouraging others to do so as well.
"The military cannot do this on our own. It has to be a collective effort involving every citizen, religious leaders, young people and public figures it's our collective responsibility," Gatot said.
President Jokowi, speaking just before breaking his fast with soldiers, stressed that terrorism simply must be stopped. He said the TNI's main job is to ensure security across the country.
"Terrorism is a stain on this country, and it must be stopped before it can claim another victim. I hope the military will continue to do its best to defend the country," Jokowi said.
The president instructed the TNI to give its full support to the national police to ensure security for all Indonesians.
Security officials say Indonesia is currently "on high alert," after Islamic State-affiliated militants in the southern Philippines seized control of parts of Marawi City in the island of Mindanao. The city is only five hours away by boat from Indonesia's Morotai Island in the province of North Maluku.
The Indonesian Air Force has sent three Sukhoi jet fighters to its base in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, as part of a military build-up to prevent Mindanao militants from entering Indonesian territory.
Jewel Topsfield and Karuni Rompies, Jakarta Indonesians who join terrorist groups overseas will face a maximum 15 years' jail under new anti-terrorism laws expected to be passed by September.
The new laws will enable authorities to crack down on Indonesians who return after fighting with the Islamic State in Syria or the Philippines.
A review of the 2003 Anti-Terrorism Bill is currently before parliament, with amendments first tabled after eight people were killed in the 2016 terror attack at Starbucks in Central Jakarta.
Terrorism analysts have long called for a tightening of anti-terrorism legislation in Indonesia, which to date has not banned membership of IS or similar organisations or participation in terrorist training camps overseas.
However the outbreak of Islamist violence in the southern Philippines appears to have spooked Indonesia, which on Monday also deployed warships in North Kalimantan to mark the start of unprecedented joint patrols with Malaysia and the Philippines.
Indonesian police estimate 38 Indonesians, including one woman, have been involved in the Marawi conflict. Four have been killed and six deported back to Indonesia.
Indonesia's military chief Gatot Nurmantyo warned earlier this month of the existence of IS sleeper cells in every one of Indonesia's 34 provinces except Papua. The sleeper cells support the existence of a caliphate but do not have weapons.
General Gatot said IS militants could move from Marawi to the Indonesian islands of Bitung, Morotai, Tarakan, Marore and Sangihe.
"These are things we must be cautious about because they can wake up the sleeping cells and then there could be conflicts that relate to the Islamic State," he said. "In line with the government policy, we will build military command in the most outer islands."
General Gatot said if Indonesia could not handle the threat, foreign powers would come in on the pretext of providing humanitarian support.
Arsul Sani, a member of the House of Representatives committee debating the new anti-terror bill, said Indonesians who became foreign fighters with terrorist groups would face a maximum 15 years' jail.
"However if he is active and commits terrorism actions out there, he can be charged with other articles and may get life or even the death penalty," he told Fairfax Media.
However Mr Arsul stressed that the decision to classify an organisation as a terrorist group must be made by an Indonesian court and not the United Nations or Western powers. He said MPs were still debating other provisions in the anti-terrorism bill but it was expected to be finalised by September.
Jakarta-based terrorism analyst Sidney Jones said the new legislation would be a breakthrough.
"They have been creative in trying to find other avenues to prosecute, so at one point the police were trying to use this provision of the criminal code which basically makes it a crime to rebel against a friendly state or to take up arms against a friendly state," Ms Jones said.
"It's always been a dicey argument to use because you never know if the judges will accept it, so having it in the anti-terrorism legislation will be much stronger."
Ms Jones said one of the other questions was whether MPs would find a way to criminalise military training for terrorism that was taking place domestically.
"So holding military training in West Java or places like that... one of the difficulties was trying to define it in such a way that it didn't penalise traditional martial arts training," she said.
One of the provisions still being discussed in the anti-terrorism bill is the role of the military.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo last month called for the armed forces to play a greater role in the war against terrorism, but rights groups fear that could lead to the sorts of human rights violations experienced under the Suharto regime.
Counter-terrorism efforts are currently led by the police, with the highly effective specialist unit Detachment 88 foiling 15 terror plots last year.
However the military can assist when requested by the government, as was the case in the manhunt for Santoso, once Indonesia's most-wanted terrorist, who was killed in the jungle of Poso last year.
Jakarta Activists have blasted lawmakers for deliberating behind closed doors plans to implement longer detention of terrorism suspects, saying there are no grounds to do so amid heightened rights concerns involving law enforcement.
The hearing on Wednesday (14/06) involving government officials was the latest of several on the revisions to the Antiterrorism Law that were closed to the public since earlier this year.
Longer detention of terrorism suspects is a cause for concern and lawmakers should have not hampered public scrutiny with the closed-door hearing, said Erasmus Napitupulu of the Jakarta-based Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.
"We understand detention is one of the most crucial tools for investigators, but it doesn't mean the deliberation can be considered too sensitive that it should be closed to the public," Erasmus said in a statement on Wednesday.
Government officials have earlier proposed detention periods for terrorism suspects of up to 450 days, compared with the 180 days currently allowed under the 2003 law.
"Thus, the deliberation should have been open to the public so that a conclusion can later be made on why longer detention is needed," Erasmus said. He said the planned longer detention periods were "excessive."
Jakarta Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, said on Monday (19/06) while visiting the Indonesian Military headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, that Indonesia is not an Islamic country or a country of infidels, but a country founded on a mutual agreement between people of different faiths.
According to Amin, it was the consensus of Muslim leaders in 1945 to modify the first tenet of Pancasila which now says "Belief in One Almighty God," removing the line "with the obligations for Muslims to carry out the Islamic Sharia."
For that reason, Amin said, Indonesia is not an Islamic country, but a country typified by a strong relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims who have promised to live together in peace, helping and caring for one another.
"Ulemas had agreed to remove the line so Indonesia can become a united country. From the perspective of Islam, Indonesia is a peaceful territory, or 'darul suluh'... not an Islamic country, 'darul Islam.' It's not a country of infidels, 'darul kufar,' or a country in war. It's a country founded on mutual agreements by people of different ethnics and religions," Amin said.
The MUI chairman expressed his concerns that some groups are now challenging Pancasila's "unity in diversity" principle.
Amin called on Muslims to put aside their differences and work together with people of different faiths across the country to stop the spread of radical ideologies.
"Let's protect this country together. Indonesia has to stay united," Amin said. He added that the biggest threat to a united Indonesia comes from intolerant groups that have been hogging the spotlight recently.
Jakarta The Jakarta Police said on Tuesday that they had confiscated 30 sharp weapons from four youth gangs during outdoor predawn meal events known as "sahur on the road."
The police's deputy head, Brig. Gen. Suntana, said that the weapons were obtained during police patrols in Central, West and East Jakarta on Tuesday morning.
"Many of them [gang members] are underage children. Next time, we will involve KPAI [Child Protection Commission]," said Suntana in a live video broadcast from the police's Traffic Management Center.
He said he hoped that the confiscation of weapons would prevent future brawls between the gangs in the city. A brawl occurred in Central Jakarta on June 16.
Suntana has also encouraged people to have predawn meal events in mosques rather than on the roads to avoid being attacked by gang members.
On Monday, 13 people holding an outdoor predawn meal event were attacked by a motorbike gang in Penjernihan, Central Jakarta. The police have detained four people in relation to the attack. (wnd/ika)
Jakarta Two groups having sahur (predawn meals) outdoors on the road (SOTR) clashed at the Penjernihan gas station in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta, on Monday, leaving 13 people injured.
Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat has banned SOTR on the grounds that such activities can cause conflict.
"Both groups have around the same number of members. The one that came from Pejompongan to Karet Bivak in Central Jakarta suddenly used sharp weapons," Central Jakarta Police chief Sr. Comr. Suyudi Ario Seto said as quoted by tribunnews.com.
He said the clash erupted because the groups wanted to show off their influence in the area. "They met on the street and attacked each other," he said.
He further said some of the suspects brought a flag with "VOC" written on it. "We have arrested four suspects," he said, adding that VOC might be a symbol of one of the groups. Suyudi said only two suspects were detained. One of them was caught with a machete.
A number of conflicts involving SOTR have occurred in the past. Last Saturday, Indonesian Military soldier Sec. Pvt. Ananda Puji Santoso, 22, was stabbed by members of an SOTR group on Jl. Benyamin Sueb in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta.
Ananda was stabbed with a traditional bladed weapon after reprimanding the group for using harsh words. (dra/bbs)
Haeril Halim, Wonosobo, Central Java President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo performed the evening Ramadhan prayer of tawareh at Al Asy'ariyyah Islamic boarding school in Wonosobo in Central Java on Friday night.
Al Asy'ariyyah is the fourth Nahdlatul Ulama Islamic boarding school, locally known as pesantren, to be visited by the President during his three-day work trip in the province, which started on Thursday.
Thousands of people including pesantren students and clerics thronged the three-story mosque at the school, but many were left disappointed, as the mosque could not accommodate them all to join the President to perform the taraweh prayer.
Prayer attendants hysterically welcomed the President with some crying in gratitude even though they could only see Jokowi on a big white screen in front of the mosque.
For them the moment was very special because it was the first time a sitting president had paid them a visit. With every step Jokowi made to enter the mosque they chanted salawat to show their highest appreciation to the President for his visit.
The President is known for his close relationship with NU clerics, especially in Central and East Java, a majority of whom threw their support behind Jokowi during the 2014 presidential elections against former Army general Prabowo Subianto.
"Thank you very much for the very special welcome for me and my entourage," Jokowi told audience at the mosque.
Jokowi in his speech expressed his appreciation to students and clerics at the school for being one of the strongest guardians of Indonesia's campaign for tolerant Islam and actively maintaining unity in Indonesia's pluralistic society.
"Avoid exchanging hate speech on social media because we are all brothers in Islam," Jokowi said.
The pesantren management used the special moment to ask the president to officiate the start of a project to write a giant Quran, which measures 2 meters in length and 1.50 meters in width.
The weight of the giant Quran is 315 kilograms and it has 315 pages. The process of writing it will take around 2 years.
At the pesantran, the President also handed over around Rp 500 million in aid and staple food sponsored by state-owned companies for students and clerics at the pesantren. (dmr)
Haeril Halim, Cilacap, Central Java President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo filled the first day of his Central Java working tour on Thursday with various religious activities by visiting several Islamic boarding schools in Cilacap regency.
His first stop was the Al Ihya Ulumudin Islamic boarding school in Cilacap to honor late Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) cleric Chasbullah Badawi, who passed away on June 5. The NU is the largest Islamic organizations in the country known for its campaign for tolerant Islam, Islam Nusantara, or Islam of the Archipelago.
The President is known for its close relationship with NU clerics, especially in Central Java and East Java, a majority of whom threw their support behind Jokowi during the 2014 presidential elections against former army general Prabowo Subianto. "I apologize for not being able to come here when [Chasbullah] left us. I am here this afternoon to pay my condolences to his family and the local government," Jokowi told hundreds Al Ihya Ulumudin students as well as residents who came to the school to see the President.
In his speech, Jokowi also encouraged students and residents to respect the value of pluralism and Indonesia as a multicultural nation.
Jokowi then moved on to Miftahul Huda boarding school in Cilacap to greet hundreds of students and NU clerics. He also delivered messages of tolerance to the audience. "Don't blame each other for our differences. We are all brothers as Muslims and we need to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood," he said.
On his way to the third Islamic boarding school, Jokowi asked his driver stop in the middle of the route to break the fast by drinking a bottle of water in the car with his son Kaesang Pangarep. He also ordered a five-minute stop for his motorcade, allowing his entourage to break their fast before moving on with their trip.
After arriving at Darussalam Islamic boarding school in Banyumas regency, Jokowi distributed 10 tons of rice, two tons of sugar and 50 kilograms of meat in aid from state-owned companies to students and residents. Jokowi also pledged to clerics to build a three-story building to be used by students at the Islamic boarding school.
On Friday, Jokowi will continue his trip to Banjarnegara regency to distribute the Indonesia Smart Card to local students. (dmr)
I recently attended such a fast breaking celebration. Through bartering with their advertising partners, the corporation that played host to the event was able to meet its CSR obligations while bearing little to none of the cost. It was not at all a surprise that commercial interests heavily influenced how the event was carried out.
Names and logos of the sponsors were displayed prominently on the mosque-like stage and on everything handed out to the orphans. This included the gifts some of them won from the pop quiz during the event, the large shopping bags handed out to each orphan before they departed from the mall, and all of the contents of the bags provided by interested parties.
In the name of corporate social responsibility, Dunkin' Donuts donated its 'free' doughnuts, Sosro offered its famous iced tea bottles, the mall made itself available as a 'public space', and so on.
The nutritional value, variety, and taste of the food and the educational value of the event were all secondary to cramming in as much advertisement as possible. It doesn't matter that Dunkin' Donuts had already provided a generous amount of its sugary pastry when Papabunz bakery offered more, you say yes. This created an interesting situation where an underprivileged group like orphans were all of a sudden overwhelmed with sugary pastry, such that half-eaten doughnuts were left behind at the end of the event.
Commercial interests dominated other aspects of how corporations met their legally mandated CSR obligations. The limited budget allocated to the event and the lack of potential for profits meant that it was done leisurely: the standard procedure of event organisation was neglected because it was considered too cumbersome and unnecessary. One of the hosts was two hours late, the kids were seated in a crammed area three hours before the beginning of the event, and the performance was poorly thought out and mostly from amateurish individuals and groups for cost-cutting.
One such group was a dakwah boyband called LAKI. They took the stage, which bore a facade of a mosque, to perform three of their hits in exchange for a magazine feature about their band. LAKI owes some of its limited fame to its member Abizar, whose father was the late Jefri Al Buchori, a famous preacher. Their songs are mostly composed from catchphrases about their piety, with lyrics such as: aku gak bisa pacar sebelum aku dewasa (I cannot date until I'm an adult), dunia ini sementara, akhirat selamanya (this world is only temporary, afterlife is eternal) and so on.
While I found the lyrics and their K-pop style aesthetics interesting, I couldn't help but notice how unprepared they were and how clunky their performance was. Their most famous member, Abizar, did not even make an appearance as promised. At one stage, they spoke about the meaning of their lyrics: 'Poor people die, and rich people die, too. So, it's important not to be arrogant', a member in trendy streetwear explained to a group of orphans wearing blue uniforms from the orphanage.
Other entertainment included a drum performance when Iftar was approaching, a pop quiz about the basics of Islam, and a former winner of Miss Universe Indonesia talking about how to stay slim and healthy while dealing with sahur, or pre-dawn meal before fasting.
This discrepancy between the lifestyle and priorities of the event hosts not to mention their nominal target audience was at its sharpest when the hostess plugged a department store fashion show by making some orphans do a catwalk on stage. 'Later this month we will host a fashion show for kids. The participants should wear items purchased at the department store, and the registration fee is Rp50,000 per participant', announced the hostess, who was wearing an elaborate kebaya dress. She then proceeded to invited some kids to perform catwalk on the stage. 'No no no you shouldn't walk like that. You should lift your legs like so, and walk with confidence. You know, just like models at fashion show', she cheerfully advised the children volunteers.
While there's little doubt that most of the kids had fun watching their friends make fools of themselves on the stage, the exercise struck me as out-of-touch and somewhat exploitative. Just like the overwhelming amount of sugary pastry, the priority of the catwalk was not the enjoyment or the well-being of the orphans whom the event was nominally meant for, but the relentless maximising of commercial interests in the CSR space that the government helped to create.
Did it not occur to anyone that orphans are typically not financially equipped to 'celebrate' consumerism like we do in our mall-based civil society? Was it not obvious that fashion gala may not be what orphans tend to be invited to in general? In the name of corporate social responsibility, we invited orphans into our world for a brief visit. With all our power and privileges, what we came up with in the end is a catwalk on stage, talks about abstract equality in the vocabulary of religion through the medium of a boy band, all in a space filled with an ongoing shopping frenzy bolstered by Tunjangan Hari Raya bonuses.
It's not so much that the inequality and the general lack of awareness of it that loomed in my mind sadly, those are very clear. What bothered me in particular was the sense that our society is having trouble imagining an alternative to the mall-based consumerist world that we are all stuck in to varying degrees. When given the opportunity (and privilege) to entertain disadvantaged children, we organised a fashion show; we gave them doughnuts, fried chicken, ice tea, and instant religion, all served in styrofoam containers. And I'm very much a part of this. I wrote up this note with a cup of caffe latte sitting in front of me at a coffee shop inside a mall having difficulties escaping my own latte urbanism.
'I feel bad that we do this every year. It's like we are using the orphans for advertisement', an organiser confided to me. At the end of the day, we more or less got what we wanted. The corporation met its CSR obligations while simultaneously maximising its commercial interests. Its business partners were able to use 'fast breaking with orphans' to advertise their products and services and network with potential clients, mall-goers went away with some laughter and the feeling that they witness kindness, LAKI is getting its magazine feature, the orphans and their donors had a pleasant afternoon in the mall, and I had my weekly reminder that we live in a society where orphans are occasionally consumed for festivity.
Jakarta Lawyers representing firebrand Islamic Defenders Front cleric Rizieq Shihab have urged the authorities to terminate an investigation into a pornography case allegedly involving him, due to "invalid evidence."
For weeks Rizieq has been fleeing the investigation. He is charged with engaging in pornographic WhatsApp chats, which is an offense under Indonesia's strict anti-pornography law.
Police say they have collected sufficient evidence to name Rizieq a suspect in the case, but lawyer Kapitra Ampera said they have done so illegally.
"The evidence in Rizieq's case has been obtained illegally, through wiretapping by unauthorized parties. Thus it cannot be used as valid evidence in the investigation or in a court trial," he said in a statement on Tuesday (21/06), adding that Rizieq's legal team calls on the president to instruct the police to terminate the investigation.
Police have said, however, they will press ahead with the investigation and are seeking ways to bring Rizieq back home. He is currently in Saudi Arabia and, according to his legal team, will not return to Indonesia anytime soon.
Last month, police named Firza Husein, the woman who allegedly sent nude pictures of herself to Rizieq in the chats, a suspect in the case. Under Indonesia's Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, both can face at least five years in prison, if convicted.
Those who had leaked the chats to the internet have not been identified yet, despite the police promising to do so weeks ago.
Jakarta The Jakarta Police have postponed the investigation into the pornography case involving Islam Defenders Front (FPI) cleric Rizieq Shihab.
"There are other important things to do, such as the humanitarian 'Ramadniya' operation. The [Rizieq] case is currently on hold," Jakarta Police chief Insp. Gen. Mochammad Iriawan said on Monday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
The police have taken measures to investigate this case by questioning people involved, including suspect Firza Husein who allegedly shared pornographic material with Rizieq.
Rizieq is presently in Saudi Arabia and has not yet been questioned by the police. Iriawan said the police might issue a blue notice to Interpol to track Rizieq's whereabouts and movements. The police may also conduct "Police to Police' communication to urge Rizieq to return to Indonesia. (cal)
Jakarta A tiny number of millionaire households will control more than 50 percent of Indonesia's financial wealth around $900 billion by 2021, a new report from Boston Consulting Group showed, making it harder for the government to end economic inequality in the country.
The BCG report said 34,000 high net-worth households, or 0.1 percent of Indonesia's total households defined as those with more than $1 million worth of assets will control 51.8 percent of the country's financial wealth in bonds, cash and deposits as well as in equities by 2021.
Last year, there were only 27,000 millionaire households, controlling 49 percent of the wealth.
Such level of wealth concentration reflected a trend that is also happening in the rest of the world, BCG said in its report "Global Wealth 2017: Transforming the Client Experience" published last week.
"The number of millionaire households is increasing at a higher rate than in 2015, driven by strong growth in equities. Their share of overall wealth also continued to grow in 2016 a trend that shows no sign of stopping," BCG said in the report.
"Such households are expected to hold slightly more than half of total global wealth by 2021," the consulting firm said.
In Indonesia, BCG data from 2016 showed millionaire households held only between 58 to 65 percent of their wealth in cash last year. The households also tend to put more money in equity in line with the size of their wealth, allowing them to tap into robust increase in stock prices.
Over the next four years, Indonesia's stock market is expected to provide an annual equity risk premium of 8 percent or a return of 8 percentage points higher than the return from the benchmark government bond rate.
In comparison, households owning less than $1 million put 75 percent of their wealth in cash and deposits, which would only generate an annual return of 6 percent over the period, BCG said.
Indonesia's total financial wealth would reach $900 billion in total by 2021, up by a third from $600 billion last year, according to the BCG Global Wealth Market-Sizing Database 2017.
That represents a compounded annual growth rate of 10.8 percent, higher than 9.9 percent for the Asia Pacific region and 6 percent globally, BCG said.
That level of growth in new wealth creation owes its existence to higher gross domestic product and saving rate, BCG said.
The firm estimated Indonesia's GDP would increase to Rp 21,476 trillion ($1.6 trillion) in 2021, from just Rp 12,407 trillion last year.
In the next four years, the country's households would set aside 4.77 percent of their disposable income in saving, up slightly from 4.61 percent last year.
Peter McCawley, an economist from the Australian National University, said the Asia Pacific region, including Indonesia, has seen rapid growth in the past five decades and is expected to maintain it in the future thanks to a commitment in economic development, keeping the peace and pursuing good policies.
But economic inequality will remain a challenge in this part of the world, according to McCawley.
"During a period with burst of growth, usually only certain groups benefit from it in the early stage.... With increasing income, it should be easier to implement redistribution policies," McCawley said in a recent interview with the Jakarta Globe.
Indonesia has just recovered from its worst inequality level, reflected by a Gini ratio reading of 0.41 in 2013. The government's effort to boost infrastructure development and implement universal health care, among others, managed to reduce the Gini ratio to 0.394 by the end of 2016.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has made economic and social equality a priority for his administration this year, with a focus on providing equal access to health care, education and economic means for all Indonesians, after concentrating on infrastructure development in his first two years in office.
While Jokowi is still enjoying support from the majority of Indonesian, he may want to take a cue from the recently-concluded Jakarta governor election in which infrastructure development alone failed to attract voters who are more concerned with how they can eke out a living, local observers said.
"I think it's important to have democracy, because it gives those who are unlucky an opportunity to air their grievances," McCawley said.
McCawley noted the government holds a key role to lower inequality level. Among others, it should be more efficient in collecting taxes to increase public spending. It also has to ensure the money it spends has an effective and lasting impact.
"There needs to be better redistribution of tax and government spending, but Indonesia is not quite there yet. There is a lot of talk about it, but most of it is just rhetoric at the moment," McCawley said.
Haeril Halim, Purwokerto, Central Java In a bid to speed up the process of issuing land certificates to people across the country, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo handed over 2,187 of them in Purwokerto, Banyumas regency, on Friday.
This is the second similar event during the trip. Jokowi passed 2,500 land certificates to people of various occupations on Thursday in Cilacap.
Jokowi said that many conflicts in society were caused by the lack of land certificates. "Citizens conflict with one another in society and between citizens and local governments [also conflict] because of uncertified land. With a certificate in hand, then you are legitimate owner of the land and no one else can claim it as theirs," Jokowi said at the event.
The land certification program is part of Jokowi's ambitious agrarian reform policy that seeks to certify 126 million hectares of land across the country.
The government plans to issue a total of 5 million land certificates nationwide this year. About 500,000 certificates would be for people in Central Java.
Jokowi said that having a certificate did not only prove the ownership of land, but land owners also could use them as guarantees for loans from banks to fund their businesses. "Don't use the money to buy luxury items," Jokowi said.
In 2018, the government aims to issue a total of 7 million certificates, while the plan for 2019 is 9 million.
Haeril Halim, Purwokerto, Central Java A land certification program that forms a key part of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's ambitious agrarian reforms has begun to drive the growth of local economies, a minister said on Friday..
Agrarian and Spatial Minister Sofyan Djalil said that people who had their land certified under the program, which started in 2016, used the certificates as guarantees to get loans from banks to develop their own businesses, especially in Central Java.
Sofyan was in the province together with Jokowi to hand over about 5,000 land certificates in Cilacap and Banyumas regencies as part of a program that seeks to certify local ownership of 126 million hectares of land across the country.
The minister said that between January and June this year banks in Central Java had disbursed a total of Rp 32.5 trillion in loans using newly issued land certificates as guarantees. "This is what it's like in Central Java because this province has a sense of entrepreneurship," Sofyan said.
This year Jokowi's administration is planning to issue a total of 5 million land certificates to people nationwide. About 500,000 are to be distributed in Central Java. In 2018, the government aims to issue a total of 7 million certificates, while the plan for 2019 is 9 million.
Kiki Siregar, Batang Hari, Jambi Indonesian tribesman Muhammad Yusuf believes his conversion from animism to Islam in a government-supported program will eventually make his life easier.
"Thank God, the government now pays attention to us; before our conversion they didn't care," says Yusuf, the Islamic name he has adopted.
Yusuf is a member of the "Orang Rimba" tribe. His small community now gathers around a stilt-mounted wooden hut, while children inside wearing Islamic skullcaps and hijabs enthusiastically recite the Koran.
Not far away, other members of the tribe who remain faithful to the old ways stalk through palm oil trees in a desperate hunt for prey in an area that was once lush Sumatran rainforest. Stick-thin and wearing only loincloths over their weather-beaten skin, they brandish homemade rifles as they search for their next meal.
Yusuf's group converted to Islam, the predominant faith in Indonesia, and gave up their nomadic ways in January in a bid to improve livelihoods that have been devastated by the expansion of palm oil plantations and coal mines into their forest homelands.
Authorities insist the move is positive but critics say it amounts to a last throw of the dice for indigenous groups driven to desperation by the government's failure to properly defend their rights against rapid commercial expansion.
Indonesia is home to an estimated 70 million tribespeople, more than a quarter of the total 255-million population, from the heavily tattooed Dayaks of Borneo island to the Mentawai who are famed for sharpening their teeth as they believe it makes them more beautiful. But as a nomadic group, the Orang Rimba whose name translates as "jungle people" are a rarity.
The 200 who recently converted in the Batang Hari district of Jambi province a handful of the approximately 3,500 Orang Rimba decided to turn to the Muslim faith after being approached by an Islamic NGO, and the social welfare ministry has helped with the process.
Community leader Yusuf conceded the reason they were converting was because food was increasingly hard to find and they were constantly locked in disputes with companies on whose lands they hunt, rather than due to any deeply-held beliefs.
The tribesman also said that he and his family he has 10 children wanted to get national identity cards, which would allow them access to public services including education and healthcare. Converting to Islam and settling in one location means they can get the cards.
The decision has meant big changes. The converts now live in basic wooden huts on stilts and no longer move to a new location every few weeks. They are fully-clothed in items donated by the government and NGOs, having abandoned the simple loincloths and sarongs they wore in the past.
"It's nicer living in a village like this, our lives are better," said Yusuf, whose old Orang Rimba name was Nguyup.
They have not completely abandoned their animistic traditions however the tribe believes spirits inhabit the trees and their wavy-bladed daggers and view Islam as a religion that overlays their own, ancient beliefs.
Not all of the Orang Rimba are keen to convert however. Just a couple of hours drive away, a group of about 300 Orang Rimba live under blue, plastic tarpaulins propped up on sticks and subsist by hunting the few animals they can find amid the palm oil trees.
They move on average three times a month in the hunt for new prey, and every time a member of the group passes away, as required under tribal customs.
Their existence is tough, and they appear skinny and malnourished but remain steadfastly against conversion. "According to our tradition, conversion is not allowed," leader of the group Mail, who goes by one name, told AFP.
It is also in part due to superstitious beliefs. "We're afraid if we break our oath, we will be captured by tigers," Mail added.
Conversion of tribespeople to Islam is not uncommon in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority country, and the government insisted the change would be positive for the Orang Rimba.
Hasbullah Al Banjary, director of indigenous communities at the social affairs ministry, said it was now easier for authorities to provide for the tribespeople as they were not moving around. He said their traditions would not be eroded.
"It's a creative culture which has local wisdom we need to preserve," he said. But indigenous rights defenders insist some tribespeople feel they have no option but to convert.
"I view this as a result of the state failing to protect them," Rukka Sombolinggi, secretary general of leading Indonesia indigenous rights group AMAN, told AFP. "They turn to clerics or the church in some areas, because they offer protection."
In recent decades, Indonesia has lost huge areas of rainforest the habitat for many indigenous groups to make way for plantations for palm oil, pulpwood and rubber, as well as coal mines.
Critics say local governments have prioritised making bumper profits by issuing permits for companies to set up operations rather than protecting tribes, who typically have no formal title to areas where they live.
Yusuf said he feels a sense of "tranquility" after converting but admitted it had not been a quick fix and his group were yet to receive the coveted identity documents. "It's now up to the government if they care about us they will work on our ID cards," he said.
Anton Hermansyah, Jakarta It's official: Djarot Saiful Hidayat is now Jakarta governor, replacing Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who was convicted of blasphemy last month.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo inaugurated Djarot as the new Jakarta governor at the State Palace on Thursday.
Ahok was supposed to end his term in October this year following his election defeat on April 19.
However, the North Jakarta District Court sentenced him on May 9 to two years in prison for blasphemy, in a controversial ruling that has, again, put the credibility of the nation's criminal justice system into question.
Ahok tendered his letter of resignation to the President on May 23, one day after dropping an appeal against his two-year prison sentence. His surprise decision not to challenge his conviction has shut down any hopes that he could ever return to his post and finish his term.
Ahok signed the letter at the police's Mobile Brigade Command headquarters detention center in Depok, West Java, where he is currently being detained. Jakarta governor-elect Anies Baswedan will replace Djarot in October. (ary)
Jakarta The Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) plans to demolish illegally built settlements in the Bukit Duri area in South Jakarta and Pasar Ikan area in North Jakarta, according to a city official.
"After clearing an area under the toll road in Kalijodo, North Jakarta, we are targeting the illegal buildings in Bukit Duri and Pasar Ikan," agency head Jupan Royter said on Wednesday as reported by wartakota.tribunnews.com.
He added that he would show no mercy to residents to disrupt public order, reminding that the semi-permanent buildings erected under Kalijodo toll road lacked legal certificates and residents had been warned before demolition began.
"They had been given deadline to leave the location. However, they were stubborn and insisted on living under the toll road. Still, we took the humanist yet firm approach to residents," he said.
Squatters began building the semi-permanent structures after former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama lost the April 19 election to Anies Baswedan. In his campaign promises, Anies pledged to avoid evictions if he won the election.
Aman Rochman, Malang, East Java Asri Anjani and Prayogo Bintang, mechanical engineering students of the University of Brawijaya in Malang, East Java, have created a device they claim is capable of preventing road accidents caused by drowsy drivers.
The device uses a heart rate sensor, which is put on a driver's wrist, and another panel placed on the bottom of the driver, which will vibrate and squeeze the user if he or she is detected becoming drowsy.
"Human heart pulse is 80 bpm [beats per minute] or below when sleeping. The device detects if the heart pulse is approaching that rate," Asri said while conducting a test of the device at the university's campus on Wednesday.
The students said they created the device due to concerns over the high rate of accidents involving cars and motorcycles. She said the device could be very useful especially for motorists on long journeys such as those currently on the Idul Fitri exodus.
"We did not use an electrical shock to alert the driver because that could surprise the driver," she said. She said they were still finalizing the ideal shape of the wrist sensor and the bottom panel, to make the product more practical and comfortable to wear.
Bintang said they planned to file a patent application for the device. They also plan to enter their invention into competition during the upcoming National Student Science Week (Pimnas). (bbs)
Jakarta Authorities canceled on Wednesday night the transfer of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to the Cipinang prison in East Jakarta over security concerns.
A junior prosecutor for general crimes in the Attorney General's Office, Noor Rachmad, said that the Cipinang prison had "entrusted" Ahok to the police's Mobile Brigade Command detention center (Mako Brimob) in Depok, West Java, to serve out his term.
"His [Ahok's] status is now as a convict under the authority of the Cipinang prison. The prison has entrusted Ahok to Mako Brimob," Noor said as quoted by kompas.com on Wednesday.
Noor said that the prosecutors were ready to transfer Ahok to Cipinang prison on Wednesday at 4 p.m. However, the warden of Cipinang prison delivered a letter to the prosecutors apparently indicating he could not ensure the former governor's safety or peace in the prison, although Noor would not reveal the details.
Noor only shared the prison warden's concern that the transfer of Ahok would cause a disturbance in the prison because of the reactions of Ahok's supporters and of the people who oppose him. Noor made assurances that Ahok's rights as a convict would be protected.
Ahok was detained at the Cipinang detention center immediately after the North Jakarta District Court declared him guilty of blasphemy on May 9. The detention triggered protests by hundreds of Ahok's supporters who flocked to the detention center to demand his release.
Ahok was detained at Cipinang for hours before being transferred to Mako Brimob because of security and public order concerns. (cal)
Jakarta The Supreme Court has dashed the hopes of Jessica Kumala Wongso, who was convicted of using cyanide-laced coffee to murder a friend, to be released from her 20-year prison sentence.
Jessica's lawyers stated they would file a request for a case review after learning that the panel of judges, Artidjo Alkostar, Salman Luthan and Sumardiyatmo, turned down Jessica's cassation appeal.
"[We] reject the cassation," said the Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi as quoted by tribunnews.com on Wednesday.
On Oct. 27, 2016, judges of the Central Jakarta District Court declared Jessica guilty of murdering Wayan Mirna Salihin.
The ruling was controversial because of a lack of evidence from eyewitnesses that could prove Jessica put cyanide into Mirna's coffee when they shared a table at the Olivier Cafe in Central Jakarta on Jan. 6.
Judge Partahi Tulus Hutapea said the judges' decision to use circumstantial evidence to determine Jessica's guilty was legitimate because it was Jessica who had ordered the Vietnamese iced coffee and she was the only one who had access to the beverage before Mirna drank it.
Before going to the Supreme Court, Jessica appealed to the Jakarta High Court but the judges rejected her. Lawyer Otto Hasibuan said on Wednesday that his client would file the request for a case review with the Supreme Court. (agn)
Indonesian police are searching for four foreign inmates who escaped prison on Bali by crawling through a narrow tunnel dug under the walls, the authorities said.
Prison officers became aware of the escape while conducting a morning check of inmates at the Kerobokan penitentiary in Denpasar, said Putu Ika Prabawa, an officer at Kuta Utara police station.
Prabawa said the four men were believed to have escaped through a 50cm by 70cm (20 inch by 28 inch) hole in a wall that connects to a tunnel leading to a main road.
He identified the four as Shaun Edward Davidson, 33, of Australia; Dimitar Nikolov Iliev, 43, of Bulgaria; Sayed Mohammed Said, 31, of India and Tee Koko King bin Tee Kim Sai, 50, of Malaysia.
Davidson is serving a one-year sentence for an immigration offence, while Iliev is serving a seven-year sentence for money laundering and another offence. Said and King are serving 14 and seven years respectively for drug offences.
Prabawa said police had distributed pictures of the escaped inmates to police stations across Bali.
"The tunnel is about 12 metres long and we suspect it took more than a week to build," the head of Kerobokan prison, Tony Nainggolan said. He said police believed the men were still in Bali and not far from the prison.
The head of the prison said 10 guards were on duty on Sunday night when the escape is believed to have taken place.
Jailbreaks are common in Indonesia, where overcrowding has become a problem in prisons that are struggling to cope with poor funding and an influx of people arrested in the president Joko Widodoa's war on drugs. Most prisoners have been convicted on drug charges.
Kerobakan has capacity for 323 inmates, but currently houses 1,378, according to government data. Last week, dozens of inmates escaped from an overcrowded prison in western Indonesia after floods caused a wall to collapse.
Last month, more than 440 prisoners escaped from an overcrowded prison on Sumatra island when they were let out of their cells to take part in Friday Muslim prayers. In July 2013, about 240 prisoners, including several convicted terrorists, escaped during a deadly riot at a prison in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.
Stefani Ribka, Jakarta Indonesia's trade surplus in May was up by 23.6 percent to $470 million from $380 million in the same month last year, the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced on Thursday.
The surplus was pushed by a 7.62 percent rise in exports to $14.29 billion in May from $11.52 billion in April. Meanwhile, imports also increased, but only to $13.82 billion, or 16.49 percent from $12 billion in April.
"[Indonesia's] export performance in May was very good, thanks to increases in both oil-and-gas and non-oil-and-gas commodities," BPS social statistic director M Sairi Hasbullah told reporters, adding that imports were also up due to public preparation for Idul Fitri.
Oil and gas exports were up by 22.36 percent month-on-month (mom) to $1.27 billion, while non-oil-and-gas exports were up by 6.37 percent to $13.02 billion.
Non-oil-and-gas exports that increased significantly on a monthly basis were machineries, followed by iron and steel, and knit work. Exports that significantly decline, meanwhile, included sea vessels, jewelry and mineral ore.
Exports for the first five months of this year were up by 19.93 percent yoy to $68.26 billion, while imports grew by 15.71 percent to $62.37 billion. The country's top three import origins remained China, followed by Japan and Thailand.
"More than a quarter of our import came from China and more than 10 percent from Japan, that meant we depended a lot on these two countries for raw materials. If something happened to them, we would need to be careful," Sairi said. (bbn)
James Thomas and Lesley Robinson The animals are brutally caught and then butchered not far from the beaches visited by more than 1 million Australians every year.
Some of the animals are poisoned, posing a risk to human health, according to a leading toxicologist.
Whilst eating dog meat is not illegal in Bali, killing animals cruelly or eating meat contaminated with poison is against the law, Animals Australia's campaign director Lyn White said. "The dog-meat trade breaches animal cruelty laws and food safety laws. That is a statement of fact," she said.
In an investigation led by Animals Australia (AA), 7.30 has obtained evidence that dogs are being bludgeoned, strangled or poisoned for human consumption. "Dog meat is essentially filtering into the tourist food chain [in Bali]," Ms White said.
Behind 66 Beach in the tourist area of Seminyak, in southern Bali, a street vendor admits he's selling dog.
AA investigator: "What is that you're selling?"
Vendor: "Dog satay."
AA investigator: "This is why you have a picture of a dog here?"
Vendor: "Yeah, yeah."
But he tells tourists a different story.
A group of Australians asks the vendor if the satays are dog meat.
Vendor: "Satay just $1."
Australian: "Mystery bag. What is, chicken?"
Australian: "Satay chicken, not dog?"
Vendor: "No, not dog."
Australian: "I'm happy just as long as it's not dog."
Misled, they unknowingly eat the dog meat.
It's not just being sold on the beach specialty restaurants sell dog meat as well.
"Tourists will walk down a street, they'll see a street store selling satay but what they are not realising is the letters RW on the store mean it is dog meat being served," Ms White said. "They're just sitting down ordering satay having no idea that they're eating dog."
Terrified dogs caught, muzzled and put into bags
Over four months, an undercover investigator for Animals Australia infiltrated the dog trade in Bali. To protect his identity we have called him 'Luke'.
"I began the investigation by pinpointing and getting to know the key players in Bali's completely unregulated dog-meat industry," he said. "Eventually, they invited me to join them as their gangs stole, hunted, poisoned and killed dogs."
Pretending to be a documentary maker interested in local cuisine, Luke was invited by a restaurant owner to witness his father, Pak Puris, catching dogs in Kintamani in Bali's north.
"The catching was fiercely aggressive. The dogs screamed and writhed as the noose strangled them. Some tried to bite through the ties to free themselves but with their muzzles lashed, their attempts were futile," Luke said.
"The villagers accepted 100,000Rp ($10) for the animals they caught. The terrified dogs were bagged and loaded onto the motorbike and the hunters headed off."
"As an animal cruelty investigator, I have trained myself to cope with cruelty, but nothing prepared me for the brutal catching of dogs in the village," he said. "I focussed on my camera work but it was gut-wrenching to hear these dogs... screaming and wailing in terror and sorrow."
During dinner, Luke gets a phone call. A contact tells him where captured dogs are being held for slaughter. We make plans to go there.
We drive for four hours to Bali's north. It's near dusk when we stop and Luke leads us towards an outcrop of trees at the back of a rice paddy.
Behind the trees, a small tin-roofed hut shelters a tethered cow. Opposite is a bamboo cage holding seven dogs, muzzled and bound by the legs with vinyl tape.
It is dark inside. The dogs are lying in their own urine and faeces. They whimper and strain to breathe through the tape that binds their mouths shut.
The catcher, Pak Puris, sits outside the cage. Shortly, he will bludgeon them to death with a metal pole. It is not an exact science, and harrowing to watch.
We did not film it ourselves but saw Luke's vision, which he'd recorded on an earlier occasion.
We're told Pak Puris is 83. Through a translator, he tells us he doesn't eat dog, "it makes him want to vomit". Over three decades, he's killed thousands of dogs. "Twelve a week," the translator said.
We ask him why he chose the dog trade. "He can't get another job, he is too old," the translator said.
On another occasion, Luke follows a man named Gus who is riding a scooter through the back streets of Denpasar. He has a rifle slung over his shoulder.
"Soon a suitable dog caught his eye. A black dog was lying down on the doorstep of a shop," Luke told 7.30. "[He] killed the dog with a single shot."
Shooting is the most humane method of killing witnessed by Luke. During his investigation he documented dogs being beaten to death, hung from trees, and poisoned. 7.30 has seen the vision, which is too graphic to publish. Luke has also filmed a puppy eating a fish head laced with poison.
He can be heard asking the dog killers:
Luke: "Tell me again what it is?"
Luke: "Oh, OK."
Shortly after eating the fish head, the puppy dies.
"It took many, agonizing minutes for the puppy to die, and for the first time in my career, I turned off the camera," Luke said. "I sat stroking him as he died and found myself apologising for the cruelty of my fellow man."
Doctor Andrew Dawson, who is the director of the New South Wales Poisons Information Centre and head of toxicology at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, said there was a health risk. "Because you are going to be exposed to a very toxic poison," Dr Dawson said.
"Firstly, cyanide is not going to be destroyed by cooking. So there will be cyanide throughout the dog's body. "The actual risk depends upon how much poison is in the dog meat."
The clinical toxicologist said concentrations of cyanide in the flesh of the dog commonly used in a satay stick could result in minor symptoms such as "feeling nauseated, diarrhoea, aches in the muscles and shortness of breath".
However, if you were to eat the meat "again and again, that can actually give organ damage and damage to the nerves". And, Dr Dawson said, the symptoms could be as severe as death.
"If you are eating, for example, a curry and it was including bits of the animal stomach or the heart, then you would expect really high concentrations of cyanide... which could be fatal."
Dog curry is sold in dog meat restaurants in Bali. However, 7.30 did not verify what cuts of meat are used.
"A rabies red zone will mean there has been a recent case of rabies in dogs in that area," Ms White explained. "Strictly, it's against the law to move dogs from a rabies red zone to other areas of Bali but that's what's happening because of the dog-meat trade."
Rabies can be spread to humans via a dog's saliva. Since 2015 there have been 20 known human deaths in Bali from rabies. According to the World Health Organisation there are tens of thousands of rabies deaths every year, mostly in Asia and Africa.
Five minutes from the spot where dogs were poisoned with cyanide, a dog satay BBQ draws a hungry crowd.
A 60-year-old man tells 7.30: "It is good for health especially during winter. It is good for breathing. It makes us strong." But the practice of eating dog meat in Bali is not a long-held tradition, according to Ms White.
"It was actually a Christian ethnic minority that brought dog meat into Bali. It's fuelled by a minority that came to work, really in the hospitality industry, and unfortunately it has taken off," she said.
Influential Hindu spiritual leader Gusti Ngurah Harta has vowed to fight the dog trade.
"We were shocked when we heard that people here in Bali are eating dog meat. It means they forgot their elders' teaching," he said. "We are not allowed to eat dog meat in Bali. This is upsetting.
"In Hindu tradition in Bali, the dog is considered a holy animal. They are very patient and loyal to their owner. The Balinese love dogs because dog is their friend."
With connections to Balinese politicians, Mr Gusti has vowed to fight the trade. "This is very sad for me to see those pictures. If it's happening in front of me, I would stop this cruelty to the dogs," he said.
The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) is working to protect the island's dogs. "We rescue them from the [dog] trader," said Bagus Ndurah, a volunteer with BAWA.
He said his organisation was currently looking after about 150 dogs. It's a drop in the ocean relative to the 70,000 dogs BAWA estimates are slaughtered in Bali every year to supply a growing appetite for dog meat.
BAWA has documented 70 restaurants serving dog in Bali. "Bali is Australia's playground, over a million Australians go to Bali every year," Ms White said.
"We have a unique friendship with the Balinese. We have a unique love of dogs. I think we are in a position where we can potentially turn this... shocking story of cruelty into a good outcome and bring an end to the dog-meat trade."
But she said she was aware of the effect Animals Australia's campaign may have on the livelihoods of Balinese employed in the dog trade. "We've given thought to that. I've even spoken to our management about possibility of compensation," she said.
"This is not about laying blame. This is about unnecessary cruelty that puts the human health population at risk and is causing shocking animal cruelty, it also is breaching Bali laws. We are certainly also willing to partner with the Bali government to bring about positive solution here."
Ika Krismantari, Jakarta Nineteen million households will no longer receive an electricity subsidy as state-owned power company PLN has complied with the government's commitment to only provide an electricity subsidy to poor people.
PLN president director Sofyan Basyir told Tribunnews.com that the cut was made after the company made a thorough inspection of its customers.
"We went to [different] locations to match the data and we found that about 19 million users do not deserve the subsidies," Sofyan said after a meeting at the House of Representatives on Monday.
Meanwhile, House member Parlindungan Purba said the country needed to tap into alternative energy sources in order to provide electricity for more people.
"PLN needs to use alternative energy like palm oil and gas to minimize production costs," said Purba who is also the chairman of House Commission II which oversees home affairs. (ecn/ika)
Shigeru Seno, Jeju, South Korea A planned cross-Java railway project in Indonesia should be funded via a public-private partnership rather than the loan aid Japan has offered, the Southeast Asian nation's minister of national development planning said Friday.
Bambang Brodjonegoro revealed the change of stance in an interview here with The Nikkei. He is attending the second annual meeting of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank's board of governors. The three-day gathering began the day of the interview.
The Japanese government has been preparing to offer official development assistance for the railway, which would link Jakarta and eastern Java. Indonesia's about-face is certain to necessitate a big rethink on the project by Tokyo and could stir some controversy.
Bambang said it is time for Indonesia to start privately funding some infrastructure development, noting such economic advancements as a doubling of per capita income and economic growth of 5% a year. The project "does not have to create burdens to our budget," he said, adding that concessional loans and soft loans, such as Japanese ODA, "are still loans."
The minister also said Indonesia is mulling the use of a PPP for an expansion of the Jakarta mass rapid transit project, now under construction with Japanese loan aid and slated for completion in early 2019. He cited the success of such a scheme in developing Hong Kong's mass rapid transit system and said that "we hope to discuss with more potential Japanese investors."
Bambang declined to comment on whether Japan should join the AIIB, saying that "it's really up to your government." But Japanese investment in infrastructure is "very much welcome," and "Japanese companies are basically ready" for PPP schemes in Indonesia, he added.
Asked to assess the AIIB, he noted that it has been only a year and mentioned co-financing projects currently underway with such peers as the World Bank and the Japan-led Asian Development Bank. "We hope in one or two years" the AIIB "can come up with own financing," he said.
Jakarta The government and 38 companies have signed memorandum of understandings (MOUs) to accelerate the construction of 32 toll roads and 24 dams across the country.
Under the agreements, the companies involved in the projects, can acquire land for the projects, without waiting for the fund disbursement from the government allocated for the land acquisitions.
"The land acquisition can be accelerated so the projects can be completed sooner," said Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono on Wednesday.
The MoUs were signed after Basuki in April agreed to the use of bridging funds for those projects. The government will allocate Rp 20 trillion (US1.50 billion) for bridging funds related to various major infrastructure projects.
The figure allocated for bridging funds may increase as the government is currently discussing with lawmakers about revisions to the 2017 state budget.
Rahayu Puspasari, the president director of State Asset Management Agency (LMAN) an agency, which would handle the funds said LMAN would provide Rp 13.28 trillion for land procurement for the toll road projects and Rp 2.37 trillion for land procurement for the dam projects.
Rahayu added that the disbursement process may take up to ten days, while the LMAN was currently working to speed up the process. (mrc/bbn)
Jakarta Indonesia has hundreds of infrastructure projects in the pipeline and China's similar ambitious initiative may offer a way out for lack of funding in the Southeast Asian country as long as it can come up with well-planned projects and a simple bureaucracy, a top executive at Bank HSBC Indonesia said.
"Indonesia may be the only country in the world with 17,000 islands but lacks the infrastructure [to connect those islands]," Ali Setiawan, Bank HSBC Indonesia managing director and global market head, said on Tuesday (13/06).
Ali talked to the Jakarta Globe in a special interview about Indonesia's need for infrastructure and how China's One Belt One Road Initiative can help.
The Chinese initiative, also known as OBOR or sometimes BRI for Belt and Road Initiative, is an ambitious development campaign launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in September 2013 in which the country seeks to build infrastructure connecting it to 65 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
A report by law firm Baker & McKenzie said the initiative will pump around $87 billion into infrastructure projects in Southeast Asia. Ali said the region may actually see closer to $100 billion next year. "How much of that funding can Indonesia absorb? It all depends on the government," Ali said.
Indonesia had started a five-year plan in 2015 to build hundreds of infrastructure projects including 2,650 kilometers of new roads, 1,000 kilometers of toll roads, 3,258 kilometers of railroads, 15 new airports and 24 new ports.
But the state budget can only cover Rp 1,500 trillion ($113 billion) out of the estimated Rp 4,900 trillion needed for 225 national projects proposed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo until 2019.
"If [the government] prep those projects properly and negotiations run well, we'll be able to get much of the [Chinese] funding. The problem is, bureaucracy can take so much time in Indonesia that the money can easily go to Malaysia or Thailand instead," Ali said.
Ali shared an experience he had being involved in a project before President Jokowi's time. While he refused to provide details on names, locations or exact date for the project, he said just the negotiation process took more than two years.
Sometimes, even if the central government gives the go-ahead for a project, he said, local governments may object and further complicate the deal. "We must act fast," he said.
Ali lauded the government's one-door investment policy an initiative to process basic licenses under one roof and simplify starting up an investment in the country managed by the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).
The BKPM even launched a special help desk for Chinese investors seeking to make investment in Indonesia to attract much-needed foreign direct investment into the country.
Ali estimated Indonesia may need up to $600 billion in the next 10 years to pay for more infrastructure projects far beyond Indonesia's budgetary ability.
"State-owned banks are being 'forced' to support infrastructure developments by other state-owned construction companies but if the banks can't come up with the money, will our capital market be strong enough to step in?"
A recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Indonesia's financial system is "relatively shallow" and capital markets are "relatively thin." External financing is important for long-term financing due to a small domestic investor base.
The government has tried to introduce new financial instruments such as long-term infrastructure bonds. Still, the report noted that fostering financial deepening without compromising prudential standards is a "key challenge" for Indonesia.
"Most of the funding from state-owned lenders goes to other state-owned companies so that can mean hardship for private companies," Ali said.
Ali said this is where HSBC steps in, connecting Indonesian companies with foreign lenders or other companies. "We have strong presence in places targeted by the Belt and Road Initiative, so we want to try helping the government to streamline the process," he said.
According to Ali, Bank HSBC Indonesia offers services as an advisor or to provide working capital for companies involved in infrastructure projects.
The lender had just merged its foreign bank branch in Indonesia with local subsidiary Bank HSBC Indonesia a rebrand of local lender Bank Ekonomi Raharja on April 17, and now claims to provide local customers with more banking services through HSBC's network across 73 countries.
Anton Hermansyah, Jakarta Indonesia is set to revise the country's negative investment list pending a technical meeting to be organized by the Coordinating Economic Ministry.
Regarding the new list, Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution hinted that there would be no change in the manufacturing sector.
"I don't not remember one by one, I have to check again, maybe medicine is also included but not medicine ingredients like we had done before," he said at the State Palace
Darmin added that the meeting would also further discuss revising the negative investment list in the transportation and pharmaceutical sectors.
The list, announced in February last year as among stimuli mentioned in the economic policy package under the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, includes fields of business that are open and closed to foreign investment with certain percentages of share ownership.
Under the current list, 35 industrial sectors, including transportation and pharmaceutical sectors, have been removed from the list.
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said he planned to initiate a discussion on revising share ownership in airport management at the meeting. He stressed that opening up the sector to foreign investors was crucial, as it would boost airport management service in Indonesia. (ika)
Jun Suzuki, Jakarta The growth of foreign direct investment in Indonesia is slowing. The latest data shows that it expanded 0.9% on the year in the January-March quarter. What is weighing down the figure? Religious and ethnic tensions.
Strains emerged during the Jakarta gubernatorial election campaign, which pitted Basuki Tjahaja Purnama the incumbent governor, an ethnic Chinese and a member of the Christian minority against former education minister Anies Baswedan, who is part of the country's Islamic majority.
Late last year, well before the eventual runoff, Purnama was hauled off to court on blasphemy charges. The one-time favorite for re-election would go on to lose. His offense was quoting a passage of the Koran. This ignited a social media storm that resulted in a two-year prison term.
The government is wary of the rising religious rigidity and the negative effects it could have on economic growth. President Joko Widodo is striving to keep divisiveness at bay.
Recently, the government has been running an advertising campaign that uses the slogan "I am Indonesia, I am Pancasila." This phrase has also found its way into social media.
Indonesia's national philosophy, known as Pancasila, comprises five principles and serves as the basis for acknowledging a diversity of religions, not only Islam, which 80% of the population follows, but also Christianity, Hinduism and other beliefs. It is an ideology created by Sukarno, who was Indonesia's first president, to unify a multireligious, multinational country spread across 17,000-plus islands.
The ideology hit a chord with Indonesians and led to a countrywide open-mindedness. Now, more than seven decades since the country's independence, and as radical Islamic groups gain traction, Indonesia's current government finds itself re-emphasizing Pancasila.
In the capital's drawn-out gubernatorial election from the end of September to the runoff in April fierce anti-Purnama campaigning hit. Although their numbers were small, some Muslims did support Purnama. They paid a price, though, as outright discrimination became a problem. Some mosques even refused to hold funeral services for Muslims who supported Purnama.
In November, a protest against the Jakarta governor turned violent and left casualties. In December, 300,000 Muslims joined prayers in the capital, demonstrating strength through numbers. While the incidents highlighted the power that the country's Islamic groups can wield, in reality not many Indonesians actively support radical Islam.
Yet the growing presence of Islamic groups and the frequency with which large protests have taken place are weighing on the minds of global investors.
Foreign investors seem to remember the May 1998 riots in Jakarta, when mobs assaulted ethnic Chinese minorities, leaving more than 1,000 dead. Looting and arson paralyzed the country's economy. Expatriates had no choice but to flee.
Given that Indonesia is politically and economically more stable now, it is extremely unlikely that the country will fall into a similar tailspin. Still, religious and ethnic conflicts have created a palpable atmosphere.
On June 1, Pancasila Day, Widodo announced he would set up an organization to maintain and spread the principles of the national philosophy. The team is to directly report to the president. Widodo also said the government would step up a crackdown on actions that provoke religious or ethnic conflict.
Now seemingly preoccupied with healing divisions, the central government is being criticized for not tending to the economy.
Widodo took office in October 2014. He began by prioritizing economic policy. One package he introduced includes 14 measures, from improving the investment environment to easing foreign capital restrictions to promoting e-commerce. He also integrated offices in charge of OKing infrastructure and other development projects, enabling basic approvals to be given in as little as three hours.
The reforms excited entrepreneurs. However, the government has not introduced any new economic packages since the end of last year. It even seems to be losing its ability to communicate its economic vision.
Foreign direct investment has been decreasing. In the first quarter of 2016, FDI increased by double digits. Since then, FDI growth has come to a near halt. The slowdown has been particularly notable in recent months. FDI expanded by 2.1% in the October-December quarter of 2016, then by 0.9% in the recent January-March quarter.
The trend has coincided with the growing social divide that manifested itself during the Jakarta gubernatorial election campaign and Purnama's trial.
In mid-May, Widodo attended a summit related to China's Belt and Road Initiative. Discussions with Beijing officials touched on developing a port on Sumatra, the Indonesian archipelago's largest island. Several days before the meeting, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and a Widodo confidant, felt obliged to say that Chinese investment is not an invasion.
The Widodo government has a plan to build about $460 billion worth of infrastructure. The private sector would cover about 70% of the bill. To accelerate these plans, foreign investment is crucial.
Maintaining social cohesion is important, but so too is keeping global investors interested.
Jakarta The World Banks has projected that the Indonesian economy would grow at the level of 5.3 percent in 2018, higher than this year's projection of 5.2 percent, according to the bank's June 2017 Indonesia Economic Quarterly.
Meanwhile, the government and the House of Representatives' Commission XI overseeing financial affairs agreed to set an economic growth target of between 5.2 and 5.6 percent in the 2018 State Budget early this week.
"Real GDP growth strengthened to 5.0 percent [year-on-year] in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 4.9 percent in the previous quarter, driven by a rebound in government consumption and surging exports," Rodrigo A Chaves, World Bank country director for Indonesia, said in Jakarta on Thursday.
Such growth forecast is in line with the expected increase of global GDP from 2.7 percent this year to 2.9 percent in the 2018-2019 period.
"Indonesian economic fundamentals are improving. Hence, the outlook continues to be positive. This is good news and sees growth potential as less vulnerable to global shocks," Rodrigo said as reported by Antara.
Fiscal performance in the first half of 2017 is strong, with improved revenue collection compared to last year and a better quality of expenditure.
Private consumption is expected to increase with moderate inflation, stable exchange rate, stronger consumer confidence and low consumer lending rates.
In the baseline estimate, investment is expected to strengthen due to continued recovery in commodity prices, increased investor confidence supported by the S&P rating upgrades, and declining commercial lending rates. (bbn)
Jakarta World Bank has expressed its support of the government's effort to improve logistics in the country as stipulated in the 15th economic policy package announced on Thursday.
"The reduction of logistic costs will support growth. The question is how to implement it," said World Bank country director for Indonesia Rodrigo A Chaves in Jakarta on Thursday as reported by Antara.
Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution said the package would address four main goals: enhancing the role of transportation insurance, reducing costs for logistic service providers, strengthening the Indonesia National Single Window (INSW) authority and reducing the number of prohibited and restricted goods.
Chaves said high logistic costs had become main source of inefficiency in Indonesia because it used 24 percent of the country's gross domestic products (GDP), compared to the figure in Malaysia, which was 8 percent, and even lower in Singapore. The signification reduction of logistic costs will help the Indonesian economy grow faster, he added.
Darmin said the government was serious in improving logistics in an effort to strengthen competitiveness in the Indonesian market. He explained that, as an archipelagic country, Indonesia has thousands of islands, which contributes to the high costs of logistic services.
The 15th economic package is the government real effort to cut logistic costs by eliminating fees for cargo licenses, cutting cost of transportation services and lowering investment costs in ports businesses, said Darmin. (bbn)
Fadli, Batam, Jakarta Batam Mayor Muhammad Rudi said he has reported to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Economic Coordination Minister Darmin Nasution about the island's worsening economy, though it had been designed to serve as the center for Indonesia's economic growth.
"I underlined in my report that Batam was in an emergency state. The central government needs to take immediate action to save Batam," Rudi said in Batam, Riau Islands, on Thursday. The Batam Manpower Agency recorded that about 300,000 of the island's workers have lost their jobs this year.
Batam's economic growth, which stood at 2.02 percent in the second quarter of 2017, strongly indicates the economic slowdown on the island. Growth was still at 5.24 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
"During the recent visit of President Jokowi to Batam, I told him about massive layoffs from the closing of factories. He promised to take immediate action, but the promise has not been fulfilled yet," Rudi added.
Riau Islands chairman of the Indonesian Employers Association's (Apindo) supervisory council, Abidon Hasibuhan, said high labor wages were the crux of the problem in Batam.
"Batam's minimum wage is the third highest in AEAN, after Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. The government ignores this. The government must be neutral. It should not always side with workers; it should also listen to employees, too," he added.
Meanwhile, Rudi said the dualism of Batam's leadership the Batam city administration and Batam Free Trade Zone Authority contributed to lengthy red tape for investors in dealing with bureaucracy. (bbn)
Grace D. Amianti, Jakarta Indonesia saw in 2017 on a strong footing with better a global environment supported by the country's fiscal performance and better quality of spending, according to the World Bank's Indonesia Economic Quarterly report released this month.
The report also highlights that a recent rating upgrade by global rating agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) was significant acknowledgment of progress made by the government in improving fiscal management and credibility.
"However, Indonesia must continue to make progress on structural reforms. Persistent efforts remain vital to expanding the economy's potential and making it less reliant on commodity exports," said Rodrigo A. Chaves, World Bank country director for Indonesia, on Thursday.
The report points out that the country still sets restrictions with its Negative Investment List (DNI) that often thwarts foreign direct investment (FDI), which has yet to significantly contribute to boost Indonesia's growth.
On that note, the government will increasingly face difficult choices when it seeks to tackle critical, but possibly unpopular, structural reforms.
"The government should therefore re-evaluate restrictions, particularly those in the negative investment list, to encourage more FDI," said Hans Anand Beck, World Bank acting lead economist for Indonesia.
The bank has retained its economic growth projection for Indonesia at 5.2 percent this year and 5.3 percent in 2018. (bbn)
Anton Hermansyah, Jakarta The government on Thursday launched the 15th economic policy package, which is aimed at improving logistics in the country.
Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution said the package addressed four main aspects enhancing the role of transportation insurance, reducing costs for logistic service providers, strengthening the Indonesia National Single Window (INSW) authority and reducing the number of prohibited and restricted goods.
"The insurance business is included in this economic package, because [insurance companies] are involved in the shipping of goods, in the shipyard business and in ship maintenance," Darmin said during a press conference at the State Palace in Jakarta on Thursday.
In trying to reduce costs incurred by logistic service providers, the government aims to eliminate costs of sea transportation, shipping agencies, freight forwarding, loading and unloading services as well as port management.
Currently, those business activities incur certain costs, ranging between Rp 2 billion (US$150,568) and Rp 500 billion. Under the new policy package, these costs will be eliminated.
Meanwhile, the details on strengthening the INSW authority and setting up an export-import task force to reduce the list of prohibited and restricted goods would be specified in the 16th and 17th economic packages, Darmin added."We actually wanted to put those four focuses in one package, but that would take too long," he said. (bbn)
Jakarta Business tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo has been named a suspect for allegedly threatening an Attorney General's Office investigator working on a tax fraud case in which he is implicated.
"[Hary Tanoesoedibjo] is now a suspect," Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said in Jakarta on Friday (16/06), as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.
The investigator, identified as Yulianto, accused the United Indonesian Party (Perindo) chairman of having threatened him via text messages during an investigation into the case involving a Rp 10.75 billion ($809,000) tax restitution to telecommunications firm Mobile-8 in 2009.
The AGO says Hary's involvement in the case occurred in his capacity as commissioner of Mobile-8, which was part of the MNC Group.
During police questioning on Monday, Hary dismissed the allegations and said it was never his intention to threaten Yulianto. "My messages were clearly not threatening," he told reporters at the National Police headquarters.
However, Yulianto said he checked the sender's contact number and after confirming that the messages came from Hary, reported him to the National Police's Criminal Investigation Unit (Bareskrim) for violating Article 29 of the 2008 Electronic Transactions Information (ITE) Law.
Sana Jaffrey and Siswo Mulyartono Indonesia has had a tumultuous year dealing with a divisive election and massive protests against Jakarta's former governor, led by the Islamic Defenders' Front (FPI).
Things finally appeared to calm down last month, until the police charged FPI's firebrand leader, Rizieq Shihab, in a pornography case. Since then, a series of incidents involving intimidation of FPI critics has renewed public outcry about aggression by hard-line religious groups. This time, at the centre of the storm is no loud-mouthed politician. It is a 15-year-old boy.
A video that went viral last week shows the teenager, accused of posting offensive material about Rizieq on his Facebook page, surrounded by several men claiming affiliation with the FPI. As the mob coerces him into reading an apology, the teen is repeatedly told that other offenders have suffered a much worse fate. "We, at the FPI still follow procedure but people can't contain themselves if their leader is insulted." As if to demonstrate, two men strike the teenager while the crowd breaks into raucous laughter.
Data compiled by free-speech advocacy network SAFEnet shows that the harassment of the Jakarta-based teenager is part of a much broader pattern of "persecution" by the FPI. Since January 2017, at least 59 people have been subjected to similar intimidation after criticising the organisation on various social media platforms. Out of recorded cases, 34 took place in May, after the police named Rizieq a potential suspect. Initially, most incidents occurred in Jakarta and West Java but have since spread to other parts of the country.
Observers have rightly noted the "organised" nature of this intimidation campaign by the FPI. After successfully leading the rallies to "defend Islam" in Jakarta in late 2016, the previously fringe organisation was openly courted by mainstream Muslim politicians. Presumably, preventing public ridicule of Rizieq's alleged sex chats seeks to protect this hard-won social capital that could prove useful during the local and national elections looming in 2018 and 2019. However, two aspects of these recent events can explain how their significance goes beyond the narrow political interests of any single organisation and why this mode of intimidation is likely to recur.
First, FPI's recent campaign builds on a tried-and-tested template of indignant mob action to regulate social behaviour. As a general phenomenon, where mobs either demand enforcement of the law to their satisfaction or directly punish a range of alleged transgressions, vigilantism is rampant in Indonesia. As a self-professed vigilante organisation, the FPI also has a long history of conducting raids against a host of "immoral" activities. Yet, the specific mode of intimidation observed in the recent set of cases against individuals accused of offending religious leaders is neither unique to the FPI nor to its hard-line ideological agenda.
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), the largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, also conducts online monitoring as part of an agreement with the National Police. Over the past year, members of NU's youth militia, Banser, have identified and "managed" several individuals accused of posting derogatory comments about NU religious leaders (kiyai).
In November 2016, a housewife from Serpong, on the outskirts of Jakarta, was accused of insulting Kiyai Maimoen. She used crude words to dismiss his suggestion that Ahok's apology was sufficient to put the blasphemy matter to rest. Following a visit by Banser members, she was driven to Central Java, where she apologised to Maimoen in person. A Jakarta resident who ridiculed a tweet by Mustofa Bisri (commonly known as Gus Mus) was met with a similar response. In January, NU's cyber team tracked offensive comments about the organisation's leader, Said Aqil Siradj. A Jember man accused of causing the offence issued a public apology in a press conference arranged by the local Banser chapter. Most recently, a Jakarta man refused to retract his allegedly offensive comments about Kiyai Lutfi Yahya. Following a visit by local Banser personnel, he promptly signed a statement of apology and posted it on his social media page.
Members of Indonesia's second largest Muslim organisation, Muhammadiyah, have also taken a similar course. Last month, the organisation's youth wing in Sidoarjo, East Java, took issue with the online comments of a local man accused of insulting two former leaders, Din Syamsuddin and Amien Rais. The accused was asked for "clarification" at the local police station, where he signed a written apology.
There are no reports of NU or Muhammadiyah members engaging in the kind of violence seen in the video of the Jakarta teen. The scale of their efforts is also much smaller than FPI's recent campaign. But the general mode of response to a perceived offense is similar: the accused offender is reported through a dedicated social media account; the offensive post is circulated until the accused is tracked down; a group claiming affiliation with the offended organisation visits the accused and obtains an apology.
It is worth noting that there is no attempt to conduct these proceedings in secrecy. Instead, the organisation's visit and the apology from the accused offender are highly publicised affairs, with photographs and videos widely circulated on social media. Creating a public spectacle not only punishes the individual accused of an offence, but also serves to forewarn others to adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Second, despite the recent arrests and disciplinary action against local police heads, the Indonesian state systematically encourages this mode of "offence" management. Recent incidents involving the FPI prompted several observers and victims to lament the "state's absence". Ironically, however, state officials have not only been present in most of the recorded cases, but have actively facilitated written apologies from the accused.
In the case of the Jakarta teenager, the neighbourhood head was given advance notice by the FPI and the entire session took place in his office. When a Tangerang woman was accused of insulting Rizieq, the local police chief called her in for questioning and negotiated an apology in his office. According to a doctor from Solok, West Sumatra, who faced relentless harassment by FPI members until she fled to Jakarta, the police remained in close contact with her throughout her ordeal. An intelligence officer first warned her about the impending visit from FPI. The subdistrict police chief facilitated her apology and signed on as a witness. The district police chief, who was eventually removed from her post for her role in the case, also met with the doctor several times.
What explains the relatively uniform state response to these incidents, at varying times and in different places? Two mutually reinforcing dynamics are at play. First, there are strong institutional incentives for formal law-enforcement officials to push for semi-formal mediation of social disputes. The police are generally under pressure to de-clog the already overwhelmed criminal justice system. When faced with a mob, these bureaucratic concerns are compounded by the need to thwart potentially embarrassing violent confrontation through negotiation.
As a result, junior police officers are required to engage in "problem-solving" with communities to resolve disputes amicably (secara kekeluargaan) through dialogue (musyawarah). Typically, this involves holding a mediation session in conjunction with other government officials. The accused signs a letter admitting guilt and promising not to repeat the offence. The complainant also signs a letter accepting any compensation that is negotiated in the process and promising not to press legal charges. All officials co-sign the stamped letters and the case is considered resolved.
This arbitration is mostly used for resolving disputes involving individuals, such as petty theft, adultery, assault and traffic accidents. But it is also becoming the routine method for settling religious disputes where one party is either an individual or a minority with considerably less leverage than the other. In cases where one side is represented by a mob, state officials explicitly cite the threat of violence to initiate mediation. In dealing with recent cases of intimidation by the FPI, the local police seem to have broadly followed this rather standard procedure.
Second, strict legislation to control online defamation in general and religious offence, in particular, creates equally strong incentives for the accused to agree to semi-formal mediation. Consider the alternatives. Even if an individual is prepared to risk mob violence and refuses mediation, she would face a lengthy legal investigation that is highly likely to result in an arraignment. According to data gathered by SafeNET, between 2008 and 2009, 79 cases were filed with the police, out of which 67 individuals were formally charged.
To make matters worse, the same mob that was previously pressuring the accused for an apology would now mobilise to "guard" (kawal) the legal process to ensure a satisfactorily hefty sentence is doled out. Given widespread concerns about susceptibility of the courts to this kind of pressure, the odds of a conviction are high. At the same time, the offended organisation is likely to lean on the accused's employers and neighbours to elicit social sanction. Given these options, it is not difficult to see why an accused individual would rather resign herself to the outcome of an unfair mediation after persecution, than risk prosecution by the state.
There is no denying FPI's recent campaign is designed to protect its organisational interests. However, there is ample evidence to suggest that other, more moderate organisations have also engaged in similar efforts. Collectively, these efforts represent the latest skirmish in a much wider contest over boundaries of religious offence in Indonesia. The goal is not to eliminate offenders but to publically cow them into submission. Vigilante action is proving to be an effective tactic, even for mainstream organisations, because it allows them to leverage the coercive capacity of the Indonesian state to achieve their ends.