Jakarta, Indonesia Police are questioning the Indonesian business partner of President Donald Trump over allegations he sent threatening text messages to a deputy attorney general.
A smiling Hary Tanoesoedibjo arrived at the national police's Criminal Investigation Agency in central Jakarta on Friday morning after failing to comply with a summons for questioning last week.
The 51-year-old billionaire, better known as Tanoe, is barred from leaving Indonesia from June 22 to July 12, which could be extended at police request.
Tanoe is accused of sending threats by SMS early last year to Yulianto, a deputy attorney general for special crime who investigated a 2009 graft case related to Mobile-8 Telecom, a telecommunications company that Tanoe once owned.
Under Indonesian law, using technology to threaten people is punishable by up to four years in prison. Tanoe's lawyer has called the case politically motivated and denied Taneo committed any offense.
The billionaire, who was a guest at Trump's inauguration, harbors political ambitions of his own and has said he might run for president in Indonesia's 2019 election.
His conglomerate MNC, which has media, property and other businesses, is developing two luxury resorts in Indonesia that will be operated by the Trump Organization.
Paniai, Jubi Hundreds of West Papua National Committee (KNPB) activists in Nabire, West Papua, have reportedly being arrested by the Nabire district police and are now being held by the Nabarua sectoral police.
When sought for confirmation, Alexander Pigai from the KNPB's political and education diplomatic commission told Jubi that the arrests took place on Monday July 3 when they were holding a long-march to the local district police station to demand the release of two colleagues who had earlier been arrested by police.
"The arrests took place at 10.05am West Papua time in [Bukit] Meriam, when we were marching towards the Nabire district police [station] to demand that the district police chief and his officers release our two colleagues, namely Andi Yeimo and Samuel Kobepa", said Alexander on Thursday July 6.
Alexander explained that the two arrested colleagues had earlier gone to the Nabire district police to ask for the release of Nabire KNPB activist Yanto Waine who had been arrested while handing out leaflets calling for the commemoration of July 1 as West Papuan proclamation day.
"Yanto Waine has been missing for three days between June 30 and July 2. When we investigated we found that he had been arrested by the Nabire district police. Yanto was arrested while handing out leaflets on Jl. Medan, Karang Mulia. Early on the morning of July 4, 2017, KNPB Nabire members again organised to go to the Nabire district police, to demand the immediate release of Yanto Waine who had been arrested", he explained.
According to Alexander, at 12noon precisely he and 30 other members had gone to the Nabire district police. Upon arriving there they held negotiations with police over the arrest of Yanto Waine who had by then been in jail for four days.
"At 3pm, all of the KNPB members were assaulted by police and it was then that Andi Yeimo and Samuel Kobepa were arrested while the other members (28 people) were forced out onto the main road", he said.
"At 4pm, all of the 28 members were ordered to come back into the district police station grounds. There, at the district police station grounds the police allegedly promised us that Yeimo, Samuel Kobepa and Yanto Waine would be released by July 5 at the latest, but [it turned out that] only Yanto Waine was released", he said.
KNPB Nabire spokesperson Deserius Goo said that the KNPB will again be demanding their release from the grip of oppression.
Separately and in order to confirm the arrests and detention of the KNPB activists, a Jubi journalist twice attempted to contact Nabire district police chief Assistant Superintendent Sonny Sanjaya on his mobile phone, however there was no answer nor any response to an SMS message. (*)
Benny Mawel, Jayapura A Papuan bishop has warned people that selling their land for money risks not only their future but also their cultural identity.
Bishop John Philip Saklil of Timika in Papua said land is part of the cultural identity of indigenous Papuans and selling it means they are trading off their cultural heritage.
"I'm worried that future generations of Papuans will have nothing; losing their rights to the land and its treasures," Bishop Saklil said. "If you want to make money, stop moving to cities and remain in the villages to plant and cultivate the land," he said.
The bishop said he is afraid that if the congregation ignores his warning, Papuans will have no more land and will remain poor and destitute in their own country.
Wirya Supriyadi, coordinator of the Jayapura-based Papua People's Network an organization that provides advocacy for people's economic, social and cultural rights said that losing property rights is a real threat to Papuans. "It's a great concern that a large portion of land in Papua has been sold to developers," said Supriyadi.
He said that 441 mining and non-mining companies have already secured permits to operate in Papua and manage a concession area of about 29 million hectares from Papua's total landmass of more than 43 million hectares. "Almost half of Papuan land has been bought up by corporations in a dishonest, deceitful way," he told ucanews.com on July 3.
John Gobay, chairman of the Papuan Customary Council, called on fellow Papuans to heed Bishop Saklil's warning as part of a campaign "or else corporations will control the whole of Papua." "All communities must communally guard their land," he said.
He also called on the government to protect the rights of indigenous people, by creating a policy to prohibit people from selling their land, including sanctions for those breaching it.
"Without it, the bishop's call would be useless," he said, adding that the bishop's fear that Papuans will lose their ownership of land can become a reality one day if no action is taken.
Engelbertus P. Degey, head of Mapia Tengah district, agreed with the bishop, but asked the church to engage seriously with all parties.
"The church has a big influence. I hope Timika Diocese can be more focused in order that the 'Stop Land Selling campaign' will be more effective," said Degey on July 3.
He hoped the church would unite all communities, government and non-governmental organizations to support the campaign.
Jakarta Hundreds of members and sympathizers of the Free Papua Organization, or OPM, have declared support for the Indonesian government a long-awaited move after decades of insurgency and human rights abuses.
A gathering at the OPM headquarters in Puncak Jaya, Papua, on Saturday (01/07) saw a representative of the group's National Liberation Army, Yusko Kogoya, reading out the declaration.
"The OPM members and sympathizers showed up with full awareness and pledged loyalty to Indonesia," said a report confirmed on Wednesday by Maj. Gen. Andre, a deputy for domestic politics at the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security. Andre was not immediately available for further comment.
The OPM waged an insurgency in 1969, when a United Nations-backed referendum made Papua become a part of Indonesia. According to the organization, the referendum was rigged and the central government has since been giving the resource-rich province an unfair share of the state's wealth.
The grievances have triggered reciprocal violence and human rights abuses. Although the government seeks to ease the tensions with a range of infrastructure projects to boost the economy of the province, in recent years Indonesian authorities have been repressing calls for Papuan independence.
Jakarta Opposing parties of the Puncak Jaya regional elections have agreed to end a conflict in the region, marked by a "breaking arrow" ritual performed by representatives of the three candidates' respective supporters.
The ritual was organized in Mulia city, witnessed directly by Puncak Jaya Regent Henok Ibo, Puncak Jaya Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Marthen Hutabarat, Regional Military Command commander Lt. Col. Inf. Hindratno Devidanto, local house speaker Mendi Wonorengga and Rev. Dainus Game, among other local figures.
In addition to the ritual carried out by representatives Erenias Kogoya, Matius Kiwo, Yeki Telenggen and Kire Wonda, all parties also agreed to prohibit the possession of arrows and machetes in the city to minimize the potential for future conflicts.
"We will seize arrows and machetes from anyone coming into the city," Henok Ibo said.
Papua Police chief Insp. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar had deployed two mobile brigade units and 200 security personnel as additional reinforcement to maintain order in the region.
The conflict has so far claimed one life, injured dozens and destroyed 21 houses and eight motorcycles.
The conflict started following the election victory of Yuni Wonda and Deinas Geley on June 15. They had won the vote in six districts over the then incumbent pair of Henok Ibo and Rinus Telenggen and the pair of Yustus Wonda and Kirenius Telenggen. (dic)
Jewel Topsfield, Jakarta Almost 100 child sex offenders from Australia have tried to enter Indonesia this year, which child advocates say underscores the need for world-first new Australian laws that will cancel the passports of paedophiles.
Indonesian immigration officials have revealed that 92 of the 485 foreigners barred from entering Indonesia this year were Australian child sex offenders.
Indonesia, and in particular Bali, has long attracted Australian paedophiles. Victorian Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis was last year sentenced to 15 years' jail after he sexually abused 11 girls the harshest penalty ever imposed for this type of crime in Bali.
The 70-year-old had insisted he did not deserve to be jailed because his crime was "not a serious thing" and he "paid them generously".
In 2014, Indonesia eclipsed Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia to become the number one destination for Australian sex tourists over the previous three years. Most started in Bali.
This paved the way for a deal between the two countries in late 2014 which sees Indonesia deny entry to registered sex offenders when notified by the Australian Federal Police.
In May this year the Turnbull government announced that more than 20,000 people on the National Child Offender Register would have their passports cancelled while they were on the list. There are 3200 offenders on the register for life. According to the Australian government, almost 800 child sex offenders travelled overseas last year.
Indonesian immigration spokesman Agung Sampurno welcomed the new law, saying it gave legal support to the ongoing cooperation between the AFP and Indonesian immigration authorities.
"The law is very helpful, however with or without the law the immigration cooperation on the field has been going very well," he said. "Based on common agreement we do database integration. It makes it easier now."
Former Victorian police officer Glen Hulley's anti-child sex exploitation organisation Project Karma lobbied senator Derryn Hinch to push for the new laws after he was elected to Parliament last year.
Mr Hulley said the laws were in the implementation phase and he expected them to be imposed by the end of the year. Of the 107 sex offenders denied entry to Indonesia this year, 92 were from Australia. "These figures absolutely show the need for the laws," Mr Hulley said.
Project Karma is lobbying the US and New Zealand to introduce similar laws. It is also the first Western organisation to partner with local government and police in Bali to raise awareness in villages about child sex abuse.
with Karuni Rompies
Samsdhuha Wildansyah, Jakarta As many as 14 Islamic organisations have issued a statement calling on the government to immediately issue a regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) on social organisations (Ormas). They are also pushing the government to immediately disband radical and anti-Pancasila social organisations.
"The statement by the 14 Islamic social organisations demands that the government immediately issue a Perppu on social organisations and pushes the government to disband anti-Pancasila Islamic social organisations", said Islamic mass organisation Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) executive board chairperson KH Said Aqil Siroj at the NU's headquarters on Jl. Kramat in Central Jakarta on Friday July 7.
Said said that nationalist values in society are in decline as a consequence of the emergence of social organisations that oppose the state ideology of Pancasila, and this become a real concern threatening the unity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).
"Intolerance has become the main problem in society of late. A majority of the nation feels and sees this phenomena and it is creating deep concern. Indonesia which is struggling to develop is experiencing an assault that is in fact coming from its own people who are influenced by radical ideas that reject or are anti-Pancasila", he said.
According to Said, anti-Pancasila and radical social organisations do not necessarily commit violence but their ideas and movement has massively and systematically destroyed sections of society.
"And it is considered a threat to diversity, the democratic political system, and Pancasila, which is one of the foundations of the Indonesian nation. If neglected, these radical or anti-Pancasila social organisations could become big and threaten the continued existence of Indonesia itself", he added.
In addition to this, if neglected, these anti-Pancasila and radical social organisations will result in society supporting radicalism and threatening the continued existence of Pancasila. In the future, the number of people who are radical and anti-Pancasila will continue to grow and will have a terrible impact on Indonesia.
"It's conceivable that our country could be destroyed like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and other countries. The Constitution does indeed allow for freedom of assembly and association, but this is still subject the stipulation of the law. Freedom must be accompanied by responsibility and an obligation to safeguard prevailing laws. Up until now the fact is that the government has never prohibited the establishment of social organisations, but only if it is clear that Pancasila is the basis of the social organisation that is to be established", he said. (nvl/fjp)
Amid the mass protests earlier this year against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, "moderate" Islamic mass organisations such as Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah have seen their influence and authority undermined by radical Islamic groups like the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), and would be one of the main beneficiaries if the government goes ahead and bans rival groups such as the HTI.
Jakarta The Jakarta Police have decided to drop the hate speech report filed by a man against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's youngest son, Kaesang Pangarep.
The evidence presented by the accuser, Muhammad Hidayat, of a YouTube video made by Kaesang was not enough to be investigated any further, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono said.
"The complainant came to us without bringing physical evidence. He should have provided the video evidence on a flash disk or compact disc," he said as quoted by tempo.co on Friday.
Hidayat reported Kaesang over Kaesang's Youtube video entitled "Bapak Minta Proyek" (Father, I ask for a project).
Hidayat claims that Kaesang broadcast hate speech for using condescending words like Ndeso, which means villagers. In the video, which has garnered 2 million views, Kaesang criticizes nepotism and the intolerance that erupted during the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections.
Hidayat himself is a suspect for allegedly broadcasting hate speech. His case is still being investigated by the Jakarta Police. (vny/rin)
Indonesian police on Thursday says it is planning to question President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's youngest son over allegations of blasphemy and hate speech.
The Associated Press quoted police spokesman Argo Yuwono as saying the authorities had received a complaint about a video featuring 22-year-old Kaesang Pangarep uploaded on YouTube in May.
Stretching nearly three minutes, the video entitled "Ask Daddy for a Project" allegedly featured Kaesang, a regular video blogger, making criticisms on the state of cronyism and nepotism, in a jab directed at children of politicians who sought business favours.
In the video, Kaesang was said to have taken a swipe at Indonesians who supported the idea of denying funeral rites for those who voted for non-Muslim leaders.
The video also included footage of children demonstrating against former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who was sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted under the country's controversial blasphemy laws.
Ahok, who is from Indonesia's Christian minority community, was sent to prison in May after months of protests by hardline religious groups in the Muslim-majority country. At the time of writing, Kaesang is in Germany with his father who is attending the G20 summit in Hamburg.
According to the Jakarta Post on Wednesday, a Bekasi resident named Muhammad Hidayat had reported the video, alleging the president's son had humiliated villagers by calling them "countrified" over their seemingly intolerant values.
National Police chief Gen Tito Karnavian said the police were verifying whether the individual in the video was indeed Kaesang. "I do not know. However, in the report the name Kaesang is written without specifying who he is," Tito was quoted as saying.
Fachrul Sidiq and Agnes Anya, Jakarta Kaesang Pangarep, the youngest child of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, has been reported to the Bekasi Police for allegedly broadcasting hate speech on YouTube.
Kaesang, who is a regular video blogger, was reported by a resident of Bekasi named Muhammad Hidayat, said Bekasi Police chief Sr. Comr. Hero Henrianto Bachtiar at the Jakarta Police headquarters on Wednesday.
Muhammad filed a report along with a YouTube video that features "a man whose face looks like Kaesang's." Hero refused to give details about which video was at the heart of the complaint, arguing that the investigation was still in a preliminary stage.
Separately, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said the police were currently trying to confirm if the man in the video in question was the President's son.
"I do not know. However, in the report the name Kaesang is written without specifying who he is," he said on Wednesday at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Jakarta.
Last month, Kaesang uploaded a video entitled Bapak, Minta Proyek (Father, I ask for a project) in which he criticized nepotism and intolerance. In the video, he includes footage of children demonstrating against former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
The video, which by Wednesday afternoon had been watched by 54, 974 people, is believed to be the one that triggered the report. (bbn)
Jakarta Indonesia's palm oil association said on Friday (07/07) it is worried that a French plan to reduce the use of palm oil in biofuels will prompt other European countries to follow suit, damaging exports of the important commodity.
France's environment minister has said the government would take steps to restrict the use of palm oil in biofuels in order to reduce deforestation in countries of origin.
The plan is the latest international pressure to be put on the palm oil industry. A few months ago, the European parliament called for the European Union to phase out the use of vegetable oils in biodiesels that are produced unsustainably.
The US government is investigating Indonesian biodiesel exports on suspicion of dumping.
Although France is not a significant export destination for Indonesian palm oil, its action could be followed by other EU members, said Fadhil Hasan, executive director at Indonesia Palm Oil Association (GAPKI).
"It will be very impactful if followed by other countries, especially when their excuses are the same as those of the European parliament," Fadhil told Reuters.
Indonesia exported a combined 4.37 million tons of palm oil to the European Union last year, its second largest market after India.
A non-binding European parliament motion in April called for a single Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) scheme for Europe-bound palm and other vegetable oil exports to ensure they are produced in an environmentally sustainable way.
Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's top producers, are working together to prevent implementation of the resolution.
In response to the French plan, the Indonesian trade ministry secretary general, Karyanto Suprih, said the government would do everything it could to defend national interests, including bringing the issue to the World Trade Organization. France "will not stop trying" to curb palm oil use, Karyanto added.
"If now the issue is the environment, maybe next time it's another issue," he said, adding that the Indonesian government has done a lot to address environmental issues. "We have done a lot and will not stop making improvements," he said.
Danang Firmanto, Jakarta Culture and Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy has a way to change the state of the national education system. Effendy claims that after being a minister for around one year he now has a method to improve the education sector.
"I began from a sensitive point, a determination", he said in East Jakarta on Thursday July 6. Effendy believes that change must begin with school committees, namely changing the role of school committees that must be independent.
Effendy admits that in some parts of the country there are still school principals that are teaching students. He hopes that this can change in the future. School principals, he said, must focus on thinking about how to develop schools and do not need to teach.
In addition to this, Effendy believes that education cannot be free. He gave examples of schools in the Netherlands and Germany that are paid. "Essentially there are no free schools, its only free for those who are poor, if they need assistance", he said.
Effendy is doubtful if a child of a regent would ask to be exempted from paying school fees. He said that he has discussed the matter of free schooling with President Joko Widodo and according to Effendy, free schooling has the potential to damage the education system.
He argues that free schooling has the potential cause a lack of serious management. Thus he insists that free schooling is only valid for people who are less well off.
Effendy is aware that education in Indonesia has still not moved forward and has a commitment to change this. "Certainly this needs to change". And this correction, he said, must be simultaneous.
Agnes Anya, Jakarta Starbucks Indonesia clarified on Wednesday that the company had no affiliation with any political or ideological groups.
The clarification was made after Anwar Abbas, a leader of the country's second largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, called for a boycott against Starbucks, saying that the coffee shop was pro-LGBT after Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced the company's support for same-sex marriages.
"PT Sari Coffee would like to clarify that it does not affiliate itself with any political or ideological groups," said Fetty Kwartati, a director at PT MAP Boga Adiperkasa, the parent company of PT Sari Coffee.
"[...] We are grateful and proud to have been a part of local communities in Indonesia for 15 years, always maintaining the deepest respect for and adherence to Indonesia's local laws, culture and beliefs," she continued.
The statement was issued after a drop in MAP Boga Adiperkasa's shares in past few days due to negative sentiment from the boycott plans. The company's shares declined by 5.54 percent on Tuesday to Rp 2,900 (21 US cents). (hol/ika)
Nilufar Rizki and Jessica Damiana, Jakarta A leader of Indonesia's second-largest Muslim organisation has called for a boycott of Starbucks, saying that the international coffee chain's pro-gay stand risks ruining the "religious and cultured" core of the Southeast Asian nation.
With the exception of the ultra-conservative Aceh province, homosexuality is legal in Indonesia. But police raids on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community have risen in the world's most populous Muslim country.
Anwar Abbas of Muhammadiyah, an organisation that has around 30 million members, said the government should revoke Starbucks' operating licence as the company's support for the LGBT community is "not in line" with the nation's ideology.
"If Starbucks only does business, then fine. But don't bring ideology here," Abbas told Reuters by phone on Saturday.
PT Sari Coffee Indonesia, which holds the licence to run the Starbucks chain, is a legal entity that "always obeys the prevailing regulations and appreciates the cultural values in Indonesia", an executive at its parent company said.
"We also value the religious background of our customers and employees," Fetty Kwartati, a director at PT MAP Boga Adiperkasa Tbk, said in a text message.
Indonesia's reputation for tolerance and pluralism is already under scrutiny after Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic-Chinese Christian, was sentenced in May to two years in prison for blasphemy in a trial that came after mass Islamist-led rallies last year.
Asked why he had taken a stand against Starbucks, Abbas said he was informed in a chat group about a pro-LGBT comment made by the company's senior executive, Howard Schultz. Schultz is now chairman of Starbucks after stepping down from his previous role as chief executive.
Forbes reported that when a Starbucks shareholder complained in 2013 that the company had lost customers because of its support for gay marriage, Schultz said it embraces diversity and that "not every decision is an economic decision". (bit.ly/2swGTQB)
"If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares in Starbucks and buy shares in another company," Schultz was reported as saying at that time. A video of the comment was also posted on YouTube.
Starbucks customer Annisa Meidiana, who is a Muslim, said she would not stop buying coffee there because of the call for the boycott. "Islam condemns LGBT. It's a sin," the 22-year-old university student said outside Jakarta. "But it doesn't matter to me. For me, being an LGBT is a human right."
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa has deplored the marriage between an underage boy with a 71-year-old woman in Lengkiti Sub-district, Ogan Komering Ulu regency, South Sumatra.
A video recording of the marriage between 16-year-old Selamat Riyadi and Rohaya, 71, went viral online, spreading quickly through social media and online messaging platforms.
"A team from the Social Affairs Ministry checked and found that they held an unofficial wedding, thus they don't have a marriage deed. It's not possible for them to marry in a KUA [Religious Affairs Office], because the groom is still underage," Khofifah said in a statement on Wednesday.
A representative of the Social Affair Ministry in the regency has visited the couple's home to verify their marriage. A statement letter by Selamat and Rohaya said they had organized an unregistered marriage, locally known as nikah siri, in Karang Endah village. They were wed by Ibnu Hajar, Rohaya's guardian, and witnessed by Komarudin and Charles.
The 1974 Marriage Law stipulates that women must be at least 16 and men at least 19 to marry. However, it allows younger people to marry if their parents request permission from the Religious Court.
Khofifah said the age requirement seeks to protect children's basic rights, such as education, as well as to ensure that couples are prepared and meet the physical and mental requirements to sustain a marriage.
"The law also says that marriage registration officials should not assist in a marriage when they know that there's a violation of the minimum age requirement to marry," she said. (afr)
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta On the international stage, 17-year-old Luis Leeds is known as an Australian racer who has taken part in numerous competitions and won trophies in championships around the world.
Not many people know that Leeds also holds an Indonesian citizenship. The racer, who was born in Melbourne in 2000, is the son of a mixed marriage between Maria, from Ngawi regency, East Java, and Dean Leeds, an Australian.
"Leeds feels that a part of him belongs to [Indonesia], so he also features [the Indonesian flag] on his racing car," said Sulistyawan Wibisono, a member of Indonesian Diaspora Network (IDN) Australia, who knows Leeds and his family.
Leeds turns 18 next year, which means that under the existing law in Indonesia, he should soon choose between his two nationalities. Even though Australia recognizes dual nationality, Indonesia does not allow dual citizenship for adults.
Sulistyawan and Leeds are among 76,000 Indonesian nationals living in Australia, a small part of an Indonesian diaspora comprising 8 million people who take up residence all over the world and continue to hope that the government will move to allow dual citizenship.
Herman Syah, a member of IDN who lives in the Netherlands, said he also faced difficulties obtaining a visa to travel to some countries, such as the United States, as he holds an Indonesian passport.
His wife and children, who have been naturalized and are Dutch citizens, were easily able to apply for a visa and left for the US without Herman, whose visa has yet to be issued.
"It's been two and a half years, but when I recently asked about my visa status to the US Embassy, they told me, 'Please wait,'" Herman said.
Last year, the Indonesia diaspora was delighted when President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced that his administration was considering to revise the 2006 Citizenship Law to allow dual nationality. However, the move was met by controversy, with the opposition citing security as the reason behind their objection.
But amid the debate, Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said her office planned to introduce a set of privileges for the diaspora, including by launching diaspora card that would function as an identity token for Indonesians living abroad. "Hopefully the cards could be issued next month," Retno said.
Dual nationality was one of the issues discussed in the fourth Indonesian Diaspora Congress initiated by Indonesian Diaspora Network (IDN) Global in Jakarta.
However, the congress itself was surrounded by controversy as several IDN chapters refused to acknowledge the event, which they claimed was unofficial and not organized by the current IDN Global leadership of president Ebed Litaay.
The congress was initially set for August, but due to differences between Ebed and IDN Global board of trustees chairman Dino Patti Djalal, which led to divisions in the organization, Dino took over and pushed the congress for July, said IDN USA president Herry Utomo, who also opposed the event.
Members attending the event did not represent IDN USA as an organization, but came as individuals, Herry said, adding that IDN Australia, Malaysia and Singapore also opposed the congress.
"We suspect that the July event also aimed to remove Pak Ebed from his position as president [...] because a letter to dismiss him had been issued," Herry said. "We rejected the July election because it seemed forced and looked like a coup d'etat, while in fact, it should be held democratically."
Meanwhile, Dino rebuffed the accusation, saying the July congress had been agreed to by all IDN National chapters, but suddenly some parties, including Herry and Ebed, changed their minds and wanted to hold the congress in August.
"It does not make sense to create an event that will compete with the July congress because the majority of the diaspora has come to the July event, which is the largest Indonesian diaspora event ever. So it only makes sense to hold the election in July," Dino told The Jakarta Post.
Jakarta House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto failed to show up for questioning as a witness in the electronic identity (e-ID) card procurement case at the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) office on Friday, citing health reasons.
"Setya Novanto could not come to the KPK as a witness in the e-ID graft case because he has been suffering vertigo for the past four days," House general-secretary Hani Tahapary told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Hani said Setya had informed KPK investigators about his absence at today's scheduled questioning.
The commission also plans to question House members Jazuli Juwaini and Khatibul Umam Wiranu, former House members Jafar Hafsah and Mirwan Amir, public notary Hilda Yulistiawatin and former staffer of PT Sandipala Arthaputra Fajri Agus Setiawan as witnesses in the case.
Setya Novanto has been questioned twice by the KPK investigators, on Dec. 13 last year and Jan. 10 this year, in relation to the case of two former officials of the Home Ministry, Irman and Sugiharto.
This week, the commission has questioned former 2009-2014 House members about the mega case, which reportedly caused Rp 2.3 trillion (US$171.55 million) in state losses. Among the former legislators were Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly and Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo. (ecn/dmr)
Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) detained Southeast Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam on Wednesday as a suspect in a bribery case related to several mining licenses.
KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah said the anti-graft body would hold Nur for the next 20 days at Guntur detention center. The arrest was made after investigators questioned him as suspect.
Nur was named as a suspect in August 2016 in an alleged corruption case involving several mining licenses granted in the province from 2009 to 2014, including the alleged abuse of authority in relation to a license given to PT AHD, which conducted illegal mining operations in Buton regency.
Nur's lawyer Ahmad Rifai questioned the detention as he claimed Nur had denied receiving money in relation to the licenses. "It was clearly stated in the investigation report that the governor had yet to receive personal benefit from the licenses. Then, why did KPK detain the governor?"
In 2014, the Attorny General's Office (AGO) handled an investigation into Nur's allegedly inflated bank account based on a report from the Financial Transaction Report and Analysis Center (PPATK). (kuk/jun)
Jakarta Former Corruption and Eradication Commission (KPK) deputy chairman Bibit Samad Rianto has been selected to oversee the Village Funds Task Force to monitor the disbursement of government funds and prevent their misuse.
The task force is expected to assist village chiefs in performing their duties, as well as to cooperate with regional leaders, and 19 ministries and state agencies under programs to expedite village development, said Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo.
"We must follow up on every [alleged violation] and revamp coordination with law enforcement officers so that reports can be addressed to provide a deterrent effect [for perpetrators]. We should also warn other villages to avoid similar violations," Eko said in a statement on Wednesday, the same day as Bibit's inauguration.
The task force, which is mandated under the Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Ministerial Decree No. 50/2017, also comprises former members of the National Police, the Attorney General's Office, the Indonesian Military (TNI), academicians, as well as NGOs.
Meanwhile, Bibit has vowed to lead the task force effectively by strengthening moral values and building a law-abiding culture in villages across the country.
"We will work to find the root causes of [violations] and we will evaluate them. After that, the internal task force will develop policies and strengthen the [monitoring] system," he said.
A report by the Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) released in January revealed that village funds were among the top five sectors prone to corruption. (afr/ika)
Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said Tuesday that its wiretapping activities were justified under the law despite doubts by members of the House of Representatives on the legality of the method used.
"We have used records [from wiretapping] as evidence in trials. The [Jakarta corruption] court has acknowledged the evidence's validity," KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah told reporters.
He added that the KPK's wiretapping procedures were in line with Article 12 of the 2002 KPK Law. The article allows the KPK to wiretap conversations during investigations into graft suspects.
Febri's claim was in response to House efforts to prove that the anti-graft body had breached the law when investigating and prosecuting suspects. The House has set up a special committee to look into the matter.
In its inquiry into the KPK, the committee has consulted with the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) to obtain financial reports of the anti-graft body in order to look for possible financial mismanagement.
The committee also plans to interview graft convicts at Sukamiskin Penitentiary in Bandung, West Java and the Pondok Bambu Women's Penitentiary in East Jakarta on Thursday to uncover possible violations in investigations by the KPK. (kuk/ika)
Rizky Andwika The Coalition to Safeguard the National Human Rights Commission has conducted research on the track record of 60 National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) candidate members.
The results of the research found that there were indications that candidates have been involved in cases of corruption, gratification, are affiliated with radical groups or have committed sexual violence.
Although House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Speaker Fahri Hamzah was reluctant to comment on the 60 candidates, he has instead stated that Komnas HAM as a quasi-government institution is no longer needed.
Hamzah said that Komnas HAM, like the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), is no longer needed and called for the two institutions to be dissolved.
"[What's happened with] the Komnas HAM is like the KPK. There's a trend, I believe, what's happened is like this. These institutions are actually not needed anymore because basically the state has undergone a democratic consolidation and a strengthening of its institutions in terms of quality", he said at the DPR building in Jakarta on Monday July 3.
Hamzah said that it is reasonable to dissolve the Komnas HAM because no one is prepared to commit human rights violations anymore. Moreover he believes that human rights matters can now be dealt with by the Ministry of Human Rights and Justice (Kemenkum HAM) through the Human Rights Directorate General (Dirjen HAM).
The politikus [lit: political rat] from West Nusa Tenggara is proposing that human rights matters be handled by the Dirjen HAM which should be converted into a new institution that is not under the authority of the Kemenkum HAM so that it is independent.
"Currently if there are [human rights] violations you can hire law enforcement officials. Lawyers. In the end these institution's activities are no longer relevant. Because the activities of these institutions are no longer relevant, in the end their internal management has also become increasingly disorderly", he said.
Because of this therefore, Hamzah will submit a proposal to President Joko Widodo to dissolve the Komnas HAM, KPK and several other semi-government institutions. He cited 106 quasi-state institutions that should be dissolved.
"Of what use are they to us? They just waste money. Including the Komnas HAM, KPK. Because they function within the state. So they are referred to as state auxiliary agencies because basically these functions are part of the state but in the past because they were deemed ineffective, [the Komnas HAM and the KPK] were considered necessary. Now if their function is within the state then what's the point of them? Just dissolve them", he explained.
Currently, the Komnas HAM which is in the process of selecting candidate members for the period 2017-2022, has reached the stage of selecting the 28 best candidates. Sixty or so candidates underwent a public screening on May 17-18.
The Coalition to Save Komnas HAM's research into the track record of the 60 candidates covered indicators of their capacity, integrity, competence and independence.
The results of the research found that 19 candidates had a good level of competence, 23 candidates had a fair level of competence and five candidates needed a deeper understanding of human rights issues. There were also five candidates that refused to provide information and seven candidates that failed to provide complete information.
"In terms of independence 13 candidates were found to be affiliated with political parties, 13 were affiliated with industry or corporations and nine people had links with radical groups or organisations", said Indonesian Human Rights and Legal Aid Association (PBHI) Director Totok Yulianto at a press conference in Cikini, Central Jakarta, on Monday July 2.
According to Yulianto, if viewed in terms of capacity there were 11 candidates that had problems with cooperation issues, 16 candidates with communication issues, nine candidates with decision making issues, 12 candidates with performance issues and 12 candidates with problems in managerial principals.
"If viewed in terms of integrity five people were found to have links with corruption and or gratification issues, 11 people had issues with honesty, eight people were linked with sexual violence and 14 people had problems with the issue of religion", he said. [noe]
Suherdjoko, Cilacap, Central Jakarta A 3-kilogram gas canister exploded at a Religious Affairs Office (KUA) in Sidareja, Cilacap regency, Central Java at 3 a.m. on Wednesday, causing damage on the office's fence and shattering the windows.
Central Java Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Djarod Padakova said police were still investigating the incident.
"A forensics team and investigators from Central Java Police's general crimes unit have inspected the location. A bomb squad from the Purwakarta Mobile Brigade [in West Java] has also been deployed," Djarod said.
During the inspection, police had found pamphlets expressing "disappointment" over a cleric in Cirebon, West Java, Djarod added. "We are still looking into the possibility of a connection between [the pamphlets] and motive [of the attack]," he added.
Authorities have questioned witnesses around the location of the bomb, including Aris Munanto, a 58-year-old street vendor, and Rubangi, a 39-year-old mosque caretaker. (afr/ika)
Jakarta Years of counterterrorism efforts have apparently led to a backlash, which may further increase the public's distrust of police, a watchdog said on Saturday (01/07), after a series of attacks on officers.
Two policemen were stabbed after a night prayer at a mosque near the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on Friday, in the apparent third terrorist attack against police in the past six weeks.
The assault has underscored concerns that militants are more and more determined to attack law enforcers and that officers have become an easy target, with terrorists seemingly intending to "openly wage a war" on them, Indonesia Police Watch chairman Neta S. Pane said in a statement.
"Police are no longer authoritative and respected," said Neta, calling Friday's attack a "dark gift for Police Day."
"This may be caused by police being too aggressive in executing terrorists in field operations in recent years. It turns out that terrorists are not afraid, and have instead become highly determined to implement the principle of 'nyawa dibayar nyawa' [a life for a life]."
Police have been cracking down on Islamic State-linked terrorist cells across the country, amid heightened deradicalization efforts by the government.
Neta said Friday's attack shows these moves have "totally failed," calling on police to conduct a thorough evaluation of their counterterrorism operations and to improve coordination, as failure in preventing further attacks may increase the public's distrust.
"Officers in the field may be traumatized and worried about [the possibility of] being attacked by terrorists. Thus, they might not be able to focus on carrying out their other duties," he said.
"Members of the public will be worried about the security system police have established. They will say: 'How can the police protect us if they cannot protect themselves at their own headquarters?'"
Last week, an officer was stabbed to death by two Islamic State-linked militants at a checkpoint of the North Sumatra Police headquarters in Medan. A month earlier, two Islamic State-linked suicide bombers killed three policemen near a bus station in East Jakarta.
Indonesia's president said on Monday his country remains a model of moderate Islam, countering critics who point to mass rallies by radical Muslims and the jailing of a Christian politician for blasphemy as evidence its reputation is crumbling.
"Pluralism has always been a part of Indonesia's DNA," Joko "Jokowi" Widodo told Reuters in an interview at the presidential palace in Jakarta. "Despite many challenges, Islam in Indonesia has always been a force for moderation."
Indonesia's state ideology includes national unity, social justice and democracy alongside belief in God, and enshrines religious diversity in a secular system of government.
Hardline Islamist groups were banned under the authoritarian regime of President Suharto, which ended in 1998, but they have gained ground in recent years, emerging from the fringes of society in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country.
Religious and political tensions spiralled at the end of last year when Islamists led protests by hundreds of thousands in Jakarta against the capital's then governor, an ethnic-Chinese Christian who was charged with insulting the Koran.
Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ally of President Widodo, lost his bid for re-election to a Muslim rival in April after months of agitation against him by a radical group, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI). In May he was sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy.
Widodo said Indonesia was "still a model" of pluralism and noted comments on Saturday by former US President Barack Obama on a personal visit to the country where he spent some of his childhood that its history of tolerance must be preserved.
"It is very important here in Indonesia, the United States, Europe, everywhere, to fight against the politics of 'us and them'," Obama told a conference in Jakarta.
The targets of hardline Islamic groups have included the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, many of whom have been driven underground by police raids.
With the exception of the ultra-conservative Aceh province, where Islamic law is enforced and two men were publicly flogged in May for gay sex, homosexuality is legal in Indonesia.
But Widodo's own defence minister has branded homosexuality a national security threat and last week a leader of Indonesia's second-largest Muslim group called for a boycott of Starbucks because of the international coffee chain's pro-gay stand.
The president trod a careful line on the question of LGBT rights, saying that "Indonesia remains a tolerant nation" whose constitution guarantees that everyone's rights are respected and protected.
But he added: "We are the largest majority Muslim country so Indonesia has its own religious norms, unique values and also cultures that must be respected."
Widodo said he would press parliament to move more quickly on passing a new anti-terrorism law that would make it easier to both arrest and detain suspects. "We need this law," he said, hammering his finger on the table in front of him.
The attempt in May by a small army of Islamic State-allied fighters to overrun a city in the southern Philippines has been widely seen as a bid by the ultra-radical group, on a backfoot in Syria and Iraq, to establish a stronghold in Southeast Asia.
Philippines officials have said there were Indonesians and Malaysians among the fighters who attacked Marawi City, where a battle with government troops has ground on for six weeks. "ISIS has no place in Indonesia," Widodo said, using a popular acronym for Islamic State.
He noted that Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines had agreed to joint maritime patrols to prevent militants moving across their islands, and said he discussed cooperation on a phone call with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last week.
"Our security and intelligence agencies continue to work hard to combat this threat. We are also continuing to promote the values of moderate Islam and when I talked with President Duterte last week I said that 'your problem is my problem'. Reuters
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta Former US president Barack Obama has said that Indonesia, with its Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) principles, could inspire other Muslim countries in promoting tolerance and moderation.
In his keynote speech for the 4th Indonesian Diaspora Congress in Jakarta on Saturday, Obama underlined that Indonesia's spirit of tolerance has been embodied in its constitution and symbolized by mosques, churches, temples and shrines located next to each other, and people living alongside one another in peace and harmony.
He also took the example of the Borobudur Buddhist sanctuary and Prambanan Hindu temple, which still exist and have been preserved for such a long time even though the ancient temples are located in Indonesia, where more than 80 percent of its population follows Islam.
"[Bhinneka Tunggal Ika] values have to be cultivated and nurtured. Young people have to embrace them. We have to fight for those values against those who promote intolerance. And that is important part of Indonesia's future," Obama told the audience.
"If people do not show respect and tolerance, eventually you have war and conflict [...] because not everybody will agree on how to practice a religion," Obama said, adding that humanity would not go far if people could not respect each other's differences.
Opening the congress was part of Obama's agenda during his visit to Indonesia, a country where he spent four years of his childhood in the late 1960s in the then-sleepy capital of Jakarta. The former president came for a 10-day holiday with his wife and daughters.
The 2017 Indonesian Diaspora Congress, initiated by Indonesia Diaspora Network Global (IDNG), was enjoyed by some 9,000 participants, including Indonesian diasporas from more than 55 countries.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, House of Representatives Speaker Setya Novanto, National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) patron Megawati Soekarnoputri. (dmr)
Jakarta The number of road victims during the annual Idul Fitri exodus dropped by 54 percent this year due to the smooth cooperation between law enforcers and the public, police said on Monday.
The latest data recorded 502 victims from 2,707 traffic accidents during the weeks before and after the Idul Fitri celebration this year, a decrease from 1,093 victims from 3,916 accidents in the same period last year.
National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said that the improvement was due to the conducive efforts of all elements involved, including toll road operators, the Indonesian Military (TNI), scout members and Barisan Ansor Serbaguna (Banser), the youth wing of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama.
"For next year, we hope that toll roads will be fully constructed [during the exodus], so they can be used and help ease the traffic," he said, adding that more rest areas would also be available along toll roads.
"Drivers will not exit toll roads unless they have nearly reached their destinations, so the journey must be exhausting and therefore, more rest areas are needed," he said. (yon/ika)
Krithika Varagur, Jakarta, Indonesia According to followers of a popular Indonesian social movement, the country would be better off without dating.
Writer La Ode Munafar, 26, started Indonesia Tanpa Pacaran (Indonesia Without Courtship) nearly two years ago to encourage young Indonesians to skip dating and go straight to marriage.
The group's message seems to have touched a nerve, acquiring over 200,000 Facebook likes and over 300,000 Instagram followers to date. Its posts often draw from Islamic culture, mixing in content about hijabs, for instance, with anti-dating graphics.
"I was concerned about the younger generation, who are victims of the doomed culture of courtship," Munafar said when asked why he started the movement.
While the anti-dating movement has grown here, there have been several high-profile, unusual marriages in local news: one between two middle school students and another between a 16-year-old boy and 71-year-old woman, both in Sumatra.
Though these stories are somewhat sensationalist, child marriage is a big problem in Indonesia. Between 14 percent and 35 percent of Indonesian girls marry before age 18, depending on the province, according to UNICEF. Some child welfare advocates worry that the movement to skip dating in favor of marriage will aggravate this issue.
Munafar says he believes dating wastes time and money for young people and can harm family relationships.
He is 26, married, originally from Southeast Sulawesi and currently lives in Yogyakarta. According to his website, he has written 60 books and runs a "quick-write" course that promises to generate a book manuscript with eight hours of training.
Indonesia Tanpa Pacaran conducts both online and offline activities, he told VOA. Online, it offers consultations to concerned individuals or facilitates discussion on WhatsApp groups, broadcasts relationship advice on Tuesdays and Fridays by "love writers," and mounts social media campaigns like #TolakValentineDay (Reject Valentine's Day).
Offline, it distributes books, holds "love seminars" and organizes meetups. Members gain access to official WhatsApp channels if they pay a fee of 170,000 rupiah (about $13).
"Dating only wastes time, energy and money for a moment's pleasure," said Munafar. "It's not for serious relationships or building a house." Munafar said the movement gains over 1,000 followers on social media every day.
As an alternative to dating, the group suggests ta'aruf, the Islamic cultural practice of getting to know prospective spouses, usually through family introductions.
Indonesia Tanpa Pacaran isn't the only such movement. Other Instagram accounts like @nikahasik (cool marriage) glorify Islamic marriage to 650,000 followers. And there are Twitter accounts like @muliatanpapacaran (nobility without dating) that do the same.
Purwakarta in West Java banned dating in 2015, installing security cameras at public intersections to monitor social interactions.
And last year, conservative politicians proposed banning all extramarital sex. The nation's highest court has not yet moved forward with discussion on the measure.
Indonesia Tanpa Pacaran has tried to lobby Indonesia's ulama (religious scholar) council to issue a fatwa against dating, but its members have resisted so far, saying that fatwas ordinarily arise in response to specific incidents.
Indonesia ranks among the 10 countries with the most child brides. By law, girls can marry at age 16, while boys can only marry at 19 with parental permission. But younger girls or couples can often get away on the nikah siri loophole, which refers to marriage performed under Islamic law.
"Overall, the legal loopholes in Indonesia legitimize various forms of child marriage," said Emilie Minnick, a child protection specialist at UNICEF Indonesia.
"Once married through nikah siri, it is extremely easy to then go through formalization of the marriage through the process of isbat, meaning that there is little incentive to go through legal marriage channels. Furthermore, the issue of child marriage in Indonesia is compounded by the fact that many authorities are proceeding on the basis of forged identity documents, which give a false age."
Child marriage has many negative effects on girls, Minnick said. "Girls who marry before 18 are six times less likely to complete secondary education than girls who marry after 18, poverty makes Indonesian girls four times as likely to be married before age 18... and globally, complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second leading cause of death for girls ages 15 to 19," she said, citing figures from Indonesia's Central Bureau of Statistics.
Cultural pressure to skip dating is certainly not the only factor in child marriage. Poverty, cultural norms and lack of social services also play a role. But the movement seems to be symptomatic of the cultural environment that produces the practice.
Jakarta The Indonesian president has not had a pay rise in the past 16 years, making President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo one of the lowest paid state leaders among the world's largest economies.
Jokowi is making Rp 30.2 million ($2,268) from his salary a month, or equal to about $27,200 a year, according to Bey Machmudin, the presidential press bureau chief, in a statement released on Wednesday (28/06). On top of that Jokowi also received an official allowance which doubles his take home pay, Bey said.
That is still much lower than the $203,000 average made by state leaders in the Group of 20. US President Donald Trump is paid an annual salary of $400,000, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel is making more than $299,000 a year.
Mexico and Turkey not too far away from Indonesia in terms of economic size pay their presidents annual salaries of $148,000 and $197,400 respectively. Jokowi only earns more than China's Xi Jinping, whose official salary is $22,000. India's Narendra Modi reportedly makes $30,000 a year.
The highest paid leader in the world is Singapore's prime minister Lee Hsien Liong, who makes $1.7 million a year.
Jokowi's salary is even lower than what a chief executive could earn in some of the country's state-owned enterprises like state energy firm Pertamina or Bank Mandiri, Indonesia's largest bank.
In the past few years, politicians have aired the idea of finally giving the president a pay rise. But Jokowi said in 2015 he would refuse such a move, saying it was inappropriate amid the country's weak economy growth.
Jokowi's presidential salary came into spotlight last week after he and Vice President Jusuf Kalla each paid Rp 45 million of zakat mal an obligatory donation for Muslims paid once a year at the minimum rate of 2.5 percent of the person's total wealth.
That led to some observers speculating that the president has quietly been given a pay rise, seemingly confusing his total wealth with his annual income.
Bey refutes the claim, saying "the amount of income received by the President and Vice President has not changed since 2001."
Jokowi put his personal wealth as he started taking office in 2014 at Rp 30 billion and $30,000, while Kalla reported a personal wealth of Rp 466 billion and $1 million.
Teten Masduki, the presidential chief of staff, said both Jokowi and Kalla have relinquished their roles in their family businesses, so they are not receiving any extra salary from other sources.
The president owns furniture firm Rakabu Sejahtera while Kalla controls Kalla Group, a Makassar-based conglomerate whose businesses in mostly eastern parts of Indonesia spans from auto dealership and construction to energy and education.
"Entrepreneurs who are elected as public officials can cause a conflict of interest if they remain in management [in their companies]. However, as shareholders, there's no conflict of interests. They're just the same as other public shareholders," Teten told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday (29/06) via text messages.
Ivany Atina Arbi and Agnes Anya, Jakarta Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat has expressed his support of the central government's plan to relocate the capital city, saying that it would help alleviate some of the burdens Jakarta currently faces.
The move, he added, would ease congestion and, subsequently, air pollution. "If it is materialized, we will be relieved, won't we?" Djarot said at City Hall on Wednesday, stressing that, ideally, the capital city should host the offices of government and state institutions.
Jakarta has become overburdened because it also serves as Indonesia's center of commerce and industry, Djoarot said. However, he conceded that a relocation would unlikely be implemented in the near future as such a significant shift requires extensive preparations, including conducting various studies.
"We, from the Jakarta administration, are ready, but I am not sure that the relocation will be carried out within one or two years," he said.
Previously, National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said his ministry aimed to complete a study into possible new capital city by the end of this year.
The new center of government would not be located on the densely populated island of Java, but in Kalimantan, he added without revealing which city is being considered. (bbn)
Jakarta Following a regulation issued by the Transportation Ministry requiring angkot (public minivans) to install air-conditioning, Jakarta will continue to prioritize the Transjakarta busway as its main public transportation service.
The capital city has introduced air-conditioned public transportation for public comfort, Jakarta Governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat said. "We have big angkot with air conditioners called Transjakarta," he said on Tuesday as reported by tribunnews.com.
His response came following a recent instruction by Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi for all public transportation vehicles to be equipped with air conditioners by February next year.
Djarot voiced support for the regulation, of which one of the purposes is to curb unlicensed public transportation. "It is good to have minivans with air-conditioning and licensed. It will help improve the quality of public transportation," he said.
Previously, Budi said he wanted angkot to be more competitive, reliable and comfortable so as to lure people to use public transportation and leave their private vehicles at home. (dra).
Jakarta The government has announced that it fully intends to move the capital from Jakarta and that it will start the preparations next year.
National Development Planning Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said on Monday that he had discussed details of the capital's relocation with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at the Presidential Palace on Monday.
Bambang, who heads the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), said he and the President had discussed the feasibility study and funding for the project.
"In 2018 or 2019, there will be activities related to the transfer of the administration of the central government [to the new capital city]," said Bambang.
Bappenas and the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry will lead ministries and other government institutions in executing the plan, said Bambang, adding that it would take three to four years to turn a city into the capital city.
"We need three to four years to finish all of the basic infrastructure and government buildings," said Bambang.
Bambang said the presidential and ministerial offices would be moved to the new capital, while Jakarta would remain a business and financial center.
Bambang did not mention which city would be become the new capital, but cities previously mentioned by government officials include Palangkaraya, the capital of Central Kalimantan, and Jonggol in Bogor, West Java. Bambang hinted that the new capital would be located outside of Java. (dis/mrc/bbn).
Jakarta Despite the Jakarta administration's threat to slash the regional performance allowance (TKD) of those who extended their Idul Fitri holiday without notice, thousands of civil servants did not appear on the first day of work on Monday.
Jakarta Employment Agency head Agus Suradika said that the electronic attendance machines recorded 1,527 civil servants who had failed to scan into work without notice.
"It's possible that [the high number of absences] was caused by the [attendance] machine being offline. We will check again," Agus said on Monday, adding that he would also check each working unit (SKPD) to find out which one had to most absentees.
This was usually the education sector as schools were still on holiday, he said. Nevertheless, Agus claimed that the number of absentees this year was fewer than that in 2016.
"Almost 10 percent of civil servants were absent [on the first day back from Idul Fitri] last year. This year, the figure is only 0.6 percent," he said.
"We gave them prior notice and clearly told them they were not allowed to extend their holidays. They could be given heavier sanctions if they continue to [ignore the rules]." (dra)
Jakarta The team of Jakarta governor-elect Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno has proposed turning reclaimed islets in Jakarta Bay, North Jakarta, into nightlife centers.
"We suggest that the reclaimed islets be turned into Jakarta nightlife entertainment centers, like those in Dubai, Singapore and Pattaya [Thailand]," the tourism and culture working unit of Anies and Sandiaga's team, Henry, said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday.
Henry said that Anies and Sandiaga's administration could take an example from other countries to establish nightclubs in a designated area far from residential areas.
Meanwhile, Sandiaga said the team previously suggested establishing sports facilities on the islets. He said all the suggestions would be considered while prioritizing an environment review concerning the reclamation projects.
Jakarta Spatial Planning Agency head Gamal Sinurat previously said that Anies and Sandiaga's team had included a suggestion to audit the reclamation projects in the draft of the 2018 city working plan (RKPD).
The plan is in line with their program to halt the reclamation projects, Gamal said. (cal/dmr)
Jakarta The Jakarta administration has announced that all civil servants, unless officially on leave, must return to work on Monday, the first day of work after the extended Idul Fitri holiday, or their allowances will be cut.
Jakarta Employment Agency head Agus Suradika said the stern measure was necessary to ensure that all public officials returned to work after the 10-day Idul Fitri holiday.
"Cuts [in allowances] will vary, ranging from one month to three months," he said as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday. "We will check through the time clocks," he said.
In the past, city administration civil servants were notorious for being absent from work after Idul Fitri and tended to skip days. However, strict enforcement of the rules and meritocracy-based work ethics promoted by then Jakarta governor Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his deputy Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama introduced in 2012 gradually changed the bad habit.
When serving as governor, Ahok upheld the strict policy. (fac/wit)
Jakarta The Indonesian Military (TNI) and the people of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) should maintain sovereignty and unity, TNI Commander General Gatot Nurmantyo stated.
"The TNI should remain close to the people and protect the people," Gatot Nurmantyo remarked in front of thousands of TNI soldiers and civil servants here on Monday. It should respect and defend people and should not be arrogant, he emphasized.
On the occasion, the TNI Commander expressed his gratitude to all soldiers who have been able to carry out their duties properly. He urged the TNI to improve its skills to face the challenges in the future.
TNI should maintain achievements that have been pioneered by its predecessors. "We should be able to carry out our duties optimally and properly," he pointed out.
President Joko Widodo earlier urged Indonesians to maintain harmony and unity amid the nations diversity.
"Diversity in tribes, local languages, and religions is the destiny of God, the law of God which is given to the Indonesian people. Therefore, we must maintain and take care of the diversity as the nations power," he said, during his speech at the Great Mosque of Tasikmalaya, here on Friday.
He shared his thoughts with the congregation after conducting the Friday prayer with residents. According to Jokowi, the nation's wealth of diversity offers great potential amid competition with other countries.
Jokowi also called for maintaining the spirit of brotherhood among Muslims and expected the people not to harm each other, as they remain fellow countrymen.
Amid spreading of rumors and hate speech, he requested people not to insult each other, not to vilify others, and to avoid slander. "It (Insulting each other) is not the culture of the Indonesian nation, which presents politeness," he emphasized.
In addition, during the delivery of land certificates to the public at Tasikmalaya City Hall, Jokowi urged the society not to be divided due to the different choices in the regional heads election or the presidential election.
"Do not fight with neighbors because of different choices of regents, governors, and president. We are brothers. All people must embrace each other. We are a big country," he stressed.
Viriya P. Singgih, Jakarta Global nickel prices have been in free fall over the past few days following the issuance of another export permit by the Indonesian government for local company PT Ceria Nugraha Indotama (CNI).
On Tuesday, the government granted CNI permission to export 2.3 million tons of nickel ore in view of the expected capacity of the company's future smelter to be developed in Kolaka, Southeast Sulawesi.
As a result, the price of benchmark nickel for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange (LME) fell by nearly 3 percent to US$9,130 per ton on Thursday, compared to $9,410 on Monday.
In late March, state-owned diversified miner PT Aneka Tambang (Antam) also obtained a permit to export 2.7 million tons of nickel ore, in accordance with the total capacity of its three ferronickel plants in Pomalaa, also in Southeast Sulawesi.
The company has submitted a second proposal to the government to export another 3.7 million tons of nickel ore, in line with the feeding capacity of its new ferronickel smelter in East Halmahera, North Maluku.
Earlier this year, the government decided to relax the mineral export ban for low-grade nickel ore with less than 1.7 percent nickel content, washed bauxite and copper concentrate, in exchange for a mining company's commitment to develop a new smelter.
Fitch Group's BMI Research has forecast that Indonesia's nickel production will grow by 20 percent year on year in 2017, the highest yearly production growth rate since the imposition of the ban in 2013, and by an average of 8.6 percent during the 2017-2021 period. (bbn)
Viriya P. Singgih, Jakarta There has been no sign of recovery in the country's upstream oil and gas sector as investors are still reluctant to pour money into exploration and exploitation activities amid a downward trend in global oil prices.
According to the Upstream Oil and Gas Regulatory Special Task Force (SKKMigas), investment in the sector in the first half of this year only reached US$3.99 billion, 28.84 percent of the full-year target of $13.8 billion.
Of the total figure, contractors spent $3.96 billion on exploitation, while a mere $30 million was spent on exploration.
"This is certainly something that we did not wish to happen, because low investment will lead to lower spending. It means that various supporting industries, including fabrication companies and equipment suppliers, will also be affected," SKKMigas head Amien Sunaryadi said Thursday in Jakarta.
Amien said the low investment figure was mostly triggered by low oil prices. The price of global benchmark Brent crude fell by 15.6 percent to $47.92 per barrel in the first half, while benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped by 12 percent to $46.04 per barrel.
However, the government was still able to book an income of $6.48 billion from upstream oil and gas in the first half, or 59.4 percent of its total target this year.
Within the same period, it needed to reimburse contractors' operating costs of $4.87 billion, 46.4 percent of targeted cost recovery in the 2017 state budget. (bbn)
Viriya P. Singgih, Jakarta Gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia is upbeat that it can settle its disputes with the government over its future operations in Papua before the deadline of Oct. 10.
Since May, both parties have met once a week to discuss various issues, including the company's contract extension, smelter development, divestment requirements and investment stability guarantees, said Freeport Indonesia executive vice president Tony Wenas in Jakarta on Wednesday.
Negotiations were temporarily halted due to Idul Fitri. They will begin again presently, he added. "We just had a short break, but [the negotiations] might restart soon. We're optimistic we can reach a win-win solution," Tony said at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.
Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan is also upbeat that a settlement can be reached in the near future. "We are still discussing issues surrounding taxation, regional contributions and other relevant issues," Jonan said.
The government has pushed Freeport to convert its contract of work (CoW), signed in 1991, into a special mining license (IUPK), a move that will automatically annul the company's long-term investment stability guarantee provided in the CoW.
Freeport is also expected to divest 51 percent of its shares to national entities. At present, American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan owns 90.64 percent of the company, while 9.36 percent is owned by the Indonesian government. (bbn)
Setiawan Adiwijaya, Jakarta Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry special staff Hadi M. Djuraid said that the government has yet to make any decision on PT Freeport Indonesia's contract extension.
According to him, a coordinated meeting held yesterday at the Finance Ministry building did not specifically discuss PT Freeport Indonesia contract extension.
Hadi explained that the main topics being discussed were divestment and investment guarantee. The statement was made to clarify the news titled "Indonesia Extends Freeport Operation Permit" published on Tempo.co yesterday.
Hadi stressed that PT Freeport Indonesia operating permit has not been extended to 2041 as written on Tempo.co by quoting the statement issued by Fajar Harry Sampurno, Deputy for Mining, Strategic Industry and Media of State-Owned Enterprise Ministry, one of the attendees of the meeting.
According to Hadi, the Energy Ministry did not approve of Freeport operating permit. The contract extension is currently being discussed by the government and the mining company and no decision has been made.
In accordance with the applicable laws and regulations, the contract may be extended twice, for periods of ten years maximum, with the following requirements: to build a smelter and to divest 51 percent of shares. "In addition, it has to meet other requirements in relation to corporate performance, environmental issues and post-mining guarantee," Hadi said.
Hadi added that the implementation of the requirements is still being discussed by the government and Freeport.
Earlier, Fajar Harry Sampurno, Deputy for Mining, Strategic Industry and Media of State-Owned Enterprise Ministry, said that yesterday's coordinated meeting discussed four issues: Freeport's operating permit extension, smelter construction, divestment and investment stability.
Jakarta The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has sent a warning letter to gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia after it laid off 4,000 employees.
The layoffs took place following a strike by Freeport Indonesia workers belonging to the All-Indonesia Workers Union Confederation (KSPSI) from May 1 to June 16 in Mimika regency, Papua, the site of the gold and copper mine.
The ministry has demanded that Freeport Indonesia act in accordance with labor laws, said the ministry's coal and mineral mining director general, Bambang Gatot Ariyono, on Sunday.
"We have warned [Freeport] to abide by the law when dismissing [employees]," Bambang said as quoted by tribunnews.com in Jakarta on Sunday.
Separately, Freeport has claimed it followed regulations when laying off the employees. "We took action in accordance with the guidelines and laws on industrial relations," said Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama.
The company, for example, called on the striking employees to return to work, said Riza, adding that the law allowed a company to terminate employees who were absent and ignored a company's summons for five consecutive days. Freeport said the company would not pay compensation to the laid-off employees.
Freeport Indonesia also let go 2,000 employees in February in a company efficiency program. The employees, however, were offered early retirement packages and furloughs. (dea/bbn)
Jakarta Bank Indonesia (BI) has said second quarter growth was slower than expected and that this was sparked by various factors including slow government spending, weak public consumption and the postponement of several economic projects.
Public consumption fell short of expectations as this year's bonus salaries for civil servants will be paid in the third quarter, BI Governor Agus Martowardojo said at the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
"Government spending was also slower [than expected]," Agus said as reported by Antara. He expressed optimism, however, that the economy would still expand 5.11 percent in the second half of the year.
The central bank predicts that the economy will grow at above 5.2 percent year-on-year in the third and fourth quarters. As a result, BI will keep its economic growth forecast for this year at a range of between 5 percent and 5.4 percent year-on-year, Agus added. (bbn)
Jeanavive McGregor, Mark Davis and Peter Cronau Donald Trump was running for the US presidency when he personally raised with senior Indonesian politicians the need to have a toll road completed in Indonesia to benefit a massive new resort development in which he later invested.
A senior Indonesian politician who met Mr Trump in New York in 2015 has revealed to Four Corners that he made clear the project would only go ahead if the toll road was completed.
"He was saying that it's impossible without the toll road," Fadli Zon, the deputy speaker of Indonesia's Parliament, said.
Mr Zon, together with the speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Setya Novanto, met with then presidential-hopeful Mr Trump in September 2015 during the presidential primary campaign at Trump Tower in New York.
The meeting, unauthorised by the Indonesian Government, was held with the direct assistance of Mr Trump's new Indonesian business partner, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, known as Hary Tanoe.
At the time, Mr Trump and Mr Tanoe were in negotiations over the development of a mega-resort and an associated theme park, sky train, and Formula One racing track on a 3,000-hectare site on the island of Java, south of the capital Jakarta.
"He [Trump] said he really understood well about the situation. For example, this theme park in Bogor area that needs some highway... because sometimes it's impossible to go there," Mr Zon said.
Congested roads in the region can turn the 70-kilometre car ride from Jakarta into a nightmarish two-or-three-hour journey. One week after the New York meeting, Mr Trump signed the deal to develop the Trump International Hotel and Tower Lido.
The construction of the toll road, which had been started then delayed in June 2015, resumed in November. The Government took over the construction in June 2016 and the first section is due for completion by the end of the year.
Mr Zon said he estimated that with the impending completion of the toll road, Mr Trump and Mr Tanoe had already tripled their value of the resort land. "Yeah. I think the price increase like three times," he said.
The President's latest financial disclosure, released on June 14, stated that the management fees from the Indonesian companies tied to the Bali and Lido resorts had more than doubled. The latest disclosure puts the fees at $US380,000, up from the $US167,000 he reported in 2016.
The head of Human Right Watch Indonesia, Andreas Harsono, said he thought the meeting between the Indonesian politicians and Mr Trump was unethical.
"It is not appropriate for any business to ask the Government to pay for an access toll road into their property," he told Four Corners.
"Unfortunately, it is common in Indonesia. You can change a road direction as you can extend a toll road or bridges or whatever to benefit people who have money, who have interest.
"This is a marriage between politician and business people. It is common, it is very common in Indonesia."
Mr Zon and Mr Novanto were both investigated by a parliamentary ethics committee over whether the meeting with Mr Trump violated strict Indonesian government codes. The result of that investigation has never been made public, but both walked away with only a warning.
In November, two months after the New York meeting, Mr Novanto was embroiled in a massive corruption scandal, accused of attempting to extort a $US4 billion payment from American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan.
Mr Novanto denied the accusation, claiming he was "just joking". He was never formally charged.
Mr Trump and Mr Tanoe's first controversial Indonesian venture was in Bali. The resort, planned as the largest on the island, will overlook one of the most iconic and sacred sites the temple of Tanah Lot.
The existing low-scale Bali Nirwana golf course and resort will close at the end of the month. Hundreds of local workers will be laid off and demolition is due to start next month.
MNC Group bought the Bali Nirwana resort in 2013 from the Bakrie Group, owned by one of the Suharto family's business associates. The Trump Organisation signed up in August 2015 to the redevelopment of the site.
Not a lot of detail is known about the plans for the second Tanoe/Trump development, Trump International Hotel and Tower Bali.
When Four Corners confronted the local regional governor Ebu Eka Wiryastuti about what had been approved by the local government, she refused to answer questions. "I can't talk about this. I cannot talk about this. At all," she said.
"It's a big complex, more than 100 hectares, to build a hotel, villas, condominiums, also to build a country club that is also with Mr Trump," Mr Tanoe told the ABC in January.
The Trump Organisation will manage the hotel, country clubs and golf courses with the Trump family heavily involved in the project. Mr Tanoe outlined the project to the ABC in March and said each of the family members had a different role.
"Donald Jr is responsible for the overall project. Eric is more on the design and golf, and Ivanka is more on the detail, like the fit-out of the hotel," he said.
Mr Harsono has warned that doing business in Indonesia may come at a cost for Mr Trump.
"I'm not going to say Donald Trump is unethical man, but he is dealing with the worse of Indonesia past, and he is going to deal with the worst of Indonesia future," he said.
"I think Donald Trump is going to get his businesses messier and also Indonesia messier. "This is going to be a messier place."
Jakarta Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has said there is no cause for concerning regarding government debt reaching Rp 3.67 quadrillion (US$274.23 billion) in April, Rp 201 trillion more than in December 2016.
"We will always protect the Indonesian economy and manage debt carefully and transparently," said Sri Mulyani as reported by tribunnews.com on Monday. She stressed that government debt was at a safe level as it was below 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). She added that the position was much better than that of Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
She also said state budget deficit was less that 3 percent of GDP, which was better than India's, for example. The government was forced to borrow money to cover the state budget deficit. The 2017 state budget is Rp 2 quadrillion.
Sri Mulyani stressed that people needed to know about government debt. "We hope the people understand. They need to know why the government has to borrow money and how it is managed so that the condition does not make them worry," she added. (bbn)
Jeremy Menchik In May, the governor of Jakarta, Indonesia a Christian was convicted for blasphemy against religion and sentenced to two years in prison.
The conviction has shocked observers around the globe. Since the country's democratic transition in 1998, American politicians on both sides of the aisle, from Democrat Hillary Clinton to Trump's Vice President Mike Pence, have praised Indonesia as a model Muslim-majority democracy.
Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama was convicted based on comments he made on the campaign trail in September 2016. He had stated that Islamists who cited a Quran verse to support their view that Christians should not hold high office were being deceitful.
An edited transcript of his speech, which made it appear as though Ahok was criticizing the Quran itself, was posted online. The video went viral. Islamist vigilante groups seized the moment to rally against the incumbent Christian governor and in support of Ahok's opponents in the April 19 election.
It was a winning strategy. They held the largest rally in Indonesian history "in defense of Islam." Their movement propelled Ahok's opponent into the governor's mansion and Ahok into prison. Some observers saw Ahok's 16-point defeat as a victory for Islamists, and a sign of the influence of an intolerant strain of Islam.
Since Indonesia's democratization in 1998, it has been widely seen as a model of religious tolerance and pluralism in the Muslim world. Is Indonesia's tradition of religious tolerance a thing of the past? Will Indonesia backslide into authoritarianism like its neighbors Thailand and the Philippines, or be taken over by Islamists like Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia? Or, might militant groups like the Islamic State (IS), which has already gained a foothold in the Philippines, make further inroads into Indonesia?
Drawing on more than 24 months of field work in Indonesia, I tackled these questions in my book on Islam and tolerance in this massive Muslim-majority democracy.
Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country, a democracy and the largest country in Southeast Asia. It faces many of the same problems as other developing countries, including weak infrastructure, low-quality education and high levels of corruption. Composed of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is also one of the world's most diverse countries, which means that protecting minority groups is an especially important concern.
Now, to be clear: in my view, Indonesia's law prohibiting blasphemy or the defamation of religion is oppressive. It suppresses free speech and individual rights. It invites abuse and enforcement by vigilante groups. But that does not mean Indonesian democracy is destined to become a theocracy in which government policy is divinely inspired.
It is one of a body of laws that, as my research revealed, have been on the books for decades. Contrary to what some observers have suggested, these laws are not a result of Islamic extremism from Saudi Arabia or IS. Instead, they reflect the views of Islamic civil society organizations. These organizations run thousands of schools, health clinics and universities, and provide the backbone for the civil society that helps make democracy work. For example, the Indonesian government makes religious education mandatory. Students can choose from Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Roman Catholicism or Protestant Christianity. All six religions are recognized and celebrated by the state. The Indonesian government obliges citizens to declare adherence to one of those recognized religions, restricts interfaith marriage and limits activities that it sees as interfering with communal rights, such as interfaith proselytizing (attempting to convert people) and blasphemy.
Americans have a hard time understanding this nonsecular form of democracy. Based on our own Constitution, we tend to assume that democracy requires a secular state in order to protect religious minorities, who would suffocate under religious rule. But there are many examples of democracies that, like Indonesia, are neither fully secular nor theocratic.
Take Greece, a consolidated democracy. The Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ plays a prominent role in Greek state ceremonies, the education system and even the conferring of building permits. In fact, the salaries of clergy are paid by the state. According to the Greek Constitution, alterations or translations of the Bible from Greek are prohibited without permission from the church. And, although infrequent, blasphemy cases can be brought before civil and criminal courts.
In India, another democracy, all religions are defined as equal, and major religious communities enjoy state patronage. Religious holidays from several religions are observed as public holidays. Religious affiliation is noted on birth certificates. The state subsidizes Hindu, Sikh and Muslim pilgrimages. And blasphemy is prohibited by the penal code.
Greece, India and Indonesia are examples of democracies that are not quite secular. We might call them "pious democracies." They promote religious values while trying to synthesize liberal individual rights and group rights. These states are not unusual. Globally, majorities in more than 20 countries say that belief in God is necessary for a person to have good values. These views shape public policies.
In Indonesia, the emergence of militant Islamists like Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia and the Islamic State has made it difficult for moderate Muslims to implement their vision for a pious democracy. The high profile of militants makes it difficult for the American public to understand the difference between militants and moderate Muslims. They are similar in that neither militants nor moderates want a secular state. But they are different in that moderates do not want to live in an Islamic state.
Data from a global network of social scientists, the World Values Survey, show that in 2006 the overwhelming majority of Indonesians did not want a government in which religious leaders tell people how to vote. More recent data suggest not much has changed. A poll conducted in May 2017 shows most Indonesians oppose replacement of the constitution with a caliphate. More than 80 percent oppose IS, and less than 3 percent support the goals of IS, according to recent data from a research and consulting firm based in Jakarta. In other words, most Indonesians, a majority of whom are Muslim, do not want to live in a caliphate.
But they do want mandatory religious education, leaders who believe in God and a society in which religion is valued by the state. As I discovered through hundreds of interviews, most Indonesian Muslims seek a state and society that promotes religious values and the rights of religious communities alongside individual rights and religious pluralism.
As my interviewees explained, their goal is a society in which individuals, organizations and the state are partly responsible for one another's moral condition.
Putting that vision into practice is exceedingly difficult at a time when secularism is often equated with tolerance, and religion is synonymous with extremists like IS. Whether in India, Greece or Indonesia, group rights are challenging to enforce in a just manner just look at Native American control over their land in the U.S.
But, as India and Greece demonstrate, it is possible. And in that respect, Indonesian Muslims' war against blasphemy and Ahok's prosecution is simply another moment in a long struggle to develop a pious democracy while avoiding the templates of secularism or theocracy.
Eka Kurniawan, Jakarta, Indonesia Rizieq Shihab may be the most controversial public figure in Indonesia today. Admired by many, reviled by others, the Great Imam of a leading hardline Muslim organization is wanted for pornography.
Mr. Rizieq heads an organization no less controversial than he: the Islamic Defenders Front (in Bahasa, Front Pembela Islam, or FPI), which is best known for promoting the application of Shariah throughout Indonesia, sometimes with hate speech. He rides around in a Jeep Rubicon, wearing all-white robes, his left hand on a microphone, his right index finger pointing to the sky. He sermonizes in a deep, strident voice and leads demonstrations, often violent, against bars and clubs and other places he calls "immoral."
Early this year, he also led massive protests against the governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, claiming, among other things, that non-Muslims can't lead Muslims. Ahok, who is ethnic Chinese and Christian, wasn't re-elected in April and then was sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy.
Some say Mr. Rizieq is a hatemonger. He has slighted the tradition of the Sundanese, the second-largest ethnic group in Indonesia, by once making a rude joke about their traditional greeting "sampurasun," which loosely translates as "please pardon me," pronouncing it "campur racun," or mixed poison. (He thinks people should say "assalamualaikum" for hello, after the Arabic.)
He has mocked Sukarno, modern Indonesia's first president, by saying that Sukarno's foundational philosophy of the state, known as Pancasila, put religion "up the ass." He has made threatening speeches against Hindus in Bali. He has insulted Christians by asking, "If God had a son, then who was the midwife?" And now he's being charged with violating anti-pornography laws.
It's not the first time he is in trouble with the law. In 2003, he was put in prison for seven months for insulting the police. He was sent back to jail in 2008, for a year and half, after the FPI assaulted members of the National Alliance for Freedom of Religion and Faith, an interfaith group that defends the rights of the Ahmadiyah, a Muslim minority, during a convention at the National Monument in Jakarta.
But Mr. Rizieq's latest case is a curious development. Pornography has been an important element in his campaign to establish Islamic law throughout Indonesia. (It applies only in the northwestern province of Aceh.) Mr. Rizieq and the FPI have attacked the offices of Playboy Indonesia. They have led demonstrations against Maxima Pictures for producing a film featuring the Japanese porn star Maria Ozawa, known as Miyabi. Yet Mr. Rizieq finds himself embroiled in a sex scandal, and one that mirrors another he helped create.
One day in June 2010, video footage was leaked showing the singer Nazril Irham, more commonly known as Ariel, having sex with his girlfriend and, separately, with another woman. It shocked the Indonesian public. The police soon caught two men and charged them for stealing and releasing the contents of the recordings, but much of the public outcry still fell on Ariel.
Then the FPI got involved. Not only did it demand that Ariel be charged with pornography; it also said he should be stoned to death. Organizations like the FPI often make their case for establishing Shariah which calls for stoning adulterers on the back of other issues. After a stressful trial, and riots, Ariel was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.
Seven years later, history is taking an ironic turn. Amid the controversy of the Jakarta gubernatorial election full of hate speech, racial incitement and claims of blasphemy screen captures of sexually explicit text messages, accompanied by nude photos of a woman, circulated anonymously on social media. And they featured the Grand Imam himself.
The police charged Mr. Rizieq, as well as the woman in the photos, with pornography-related crimes. After Mr. Rizieq failed to respond to summonses and was discovered to be in Saudi Arabia the police declared him to be a fugitive.
For the FPI and other hard-line Islamic groups, the scandal is humiliating. Ariel, upon being released after nearly two years in prison, became a popular singer again. If Mr. Rizieq is found guilty, he won't be rehabilitated so fast.
His lawyers claim that the police are "criminalizing the ulema," or Muslim scholars. They say that the case against Mr. Rizieq is a setup and revenge for Ahok's electoral defeat and imprisonment. But Mr. Rizieq has already lost a great deal of moral legitimacy and not just personally, but also for the FPI and other radical Islamic groups.
Yet the scandal is no less complicated for opponents of Mr. Rizieq and the FPI. It coincides with other sex prosecutions, and together they indicate that the state has become over-involved in the sex lives, and sexual orientation, of its citizens.
In mid-May, two gay men were publicly caned in Aceh, the only Indonesian province that enforces Islamic criminal law. Around that time, a group of gay men were arrested in Jakarta at a gathering that the police described as a "sex party." Despite the fact that same-sex relations are not illegal in Indonesia, these men now face pornography charges.
One big problem, of course, are the anti-pornography laws, which were passed in 2008, with the support of the FPI and Islamic parties in Parliament. Both local governments and vast swathes of the population in eastern provinces such as Bali, Papua and East Nusa Tenggara objected to the legislation outright, as did women's rights activists. These groups worried that the regulations were too vague and could be used to suppress the cultural diversity that defines Indonesia. Despite several legal challenges, a court rejected calls to re-examine the laws, determining that they did not violate the Constitution.
Mr. Rizieq has been embroiled in several cases before, but he is being pursued most aggressively than ever for this business of sexting. Why? Historically, political opponents in Indonesia used to be silenced with accusations of treason. More recently, as with Ahok, it's been with blasphemy laws. Now, anti-pornography?
Indonesia faces a serious threat from the rise of religious radicalism and conservatism generally. The FPI's aggressive campaigns are one example of that trend and the case against the FPI's leader is another. That's why the Rizieq scandal should worry not just his supporters, but everyone else as well: The pornography charges brought against him only confirm the closing of Indonesia's mind.