In yet another case of arrogant people in authority behaving like they're above the law, an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician struggled to contain his anger when stopped by a cop in his hometown of Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, resulting in his demotion within the party after a video of the incident went viral.
The video, which was taken on Saturday and quickly went viral over the weekend, shows then-PDI-P Bima Executive Branch Council (DPC) Chairman Ruslan Usman screaming at a cop who stopped him over his unofficial, illegal "MAN 1" license plate (which we can only assume alludes to his belief that he's THE #1 man in Bima) on his ostentatiously red camo-painted pickup truck, which matches PDI-P's colors.
"Don't take my car away! You think you're so great, don't you?" Ruslan shouted to the cop in the video.
Well, it didn't end well at all for Ruslan, as PDI-P has announced that he has been relieved of his DPC chairman post in Bima, effective immediately.
"Ruslan, as a party leader, should be a role model when it comes to obeying the law, not acting arrogantly like this, which is unbecoming of a party elite," said PDI-P Secretary General Hasto Kristiyanto today, as quoted by Detik.
In a press conference in Bima, Ruslan admitted that he was wrong and that he apologized for berating the cop.
"I didn't want to be wrong even if I was wrong. That's why I was angry. For that I apologize," he said, as quoted by local news site Kahaba today.
Under Indonesian traffic law, license plates not issued by the National Police's Traffic Corps are forbidden, with violators subject to IDR500K (US$35.85) fine or two months' imprisonment.
Nethy Dharma Somba and Evi Mariani, Jayapura/Jakarta A car belonging to mining company PT Freeport Indonesia employee Moren Francis Ras was shot up by an unidentified shooter at his house in the Hidden Valley housing complex at Mile 66 in Tembagapura, Mimika, in Papua on Friday morning, the police report.
"The shooting damaged the car, but there were no injuries," Mimika Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Agung Marlianto Basuki told The Jakarta Post.
Ras, a South African, was walking from his house to the car when the shooting occurred, Ras immediately dropped down behind the car.
The Papua National Liberation Army (TPN), an armed group demanding Papuan self-determination, claimed responsibility. TPN spokesperson Hendrik Wanmang, told the Post on Friday that "a foreigner got shot by the TPN".
A statement from the TPN made available to the Post on Friday claimed that their group had been infiltrated by "an intelligence officer", who carried a weapon.
The TPN confiscated the weapon in Tembagapura, the release said, and it was made in the US. The TPN suspected "foreign involvement" in the campaign against them, the release said.
A programme called 'Bright Indonesia' has been launched by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to increase the electrification rate in the country's eastern provinces.
Antara News reported that through the programme, Indonesia aimed to boost its electrification rate to 97 per cent of the country's total population by 2019.
This would require the building of new power plants, that would include the use of renewable energy sources, with a total capacity of 35 thousand megawatts.
The programme was expected to provide electricity to underdeveloped villages including in Papua and West Papua.
Facebook has censored a West Papuan image by a Vanuatu-based photojournalist for the second time in less than four days this time "within one minute" after the photograph was posted.
Port Vila resident Ben Bohane has specialised in Melanesian, kastom (custom) and conflict photography for more than two decades. He runs the agency Wakaphotos and is the author of the book "The Black Islands: Spirit and War in Melanesia".
Last weekend, a two-page feature spread authored by him about a perceived threat to the region's stability because of Indonesian political influence in the Melanesian Spearhead Group was published by the Vanuatu Daily Post under the headline "Caught in a pincer".
The article was subsequently republished in the Pacific Media Centre's Asia Pacific Report on Monday under the headline "China? No, let's face the elephant in the Pacific room",
Facebook alerts on the Vanuatu Daily Post, Asia Pacific Report, Pacific Media Centre along with Ben Bohane and PMC director Professor David Robie's newsfeeds were removed with blocks saying the featured image had "violated community standards".
The Bohane image taken in 1995 showed an armed OPM (Free West Papua) guerilla and several other men wearing traditional nambas (protective sheaths).
The photo has previously appeared in The Black Islands and other outlets, and can be seen in a 2006 Bohane photoessay at Pacific Journalism Review.
Bohane today carried out a Facebook "test" by posting his OPM image again. He told Pacific Media Watch that within one minute he was "notified that the content has been removed and I am now banned from posting anything on FB for 24 hours".
Bohane wrote on his Facebook page: "Facebook seems to be censoring West Papuan images of mine used in news stories, saying they don't meet 'Community Standards' because of "nudity".
"Either that or the Indonesian government is reporting the images to be removed because they don't want Papuan resistance photos spread on the web.
"Memo to Facebook this is how Papuans live! Your 'Community Standards' obviously don't include Melanesian culture.
"I have sent FB messages to complain, as have some regional news media outlets, and am posting images here as a test to see if they will be removed again and the problem persists..."
Jakarta Vote distortions may occur in the upcoming simultaneous regional elections in Papua if the noken system is used, an official from the General Elections Commission (KPU) has said.
Under the noken system, a group of voters are represented by one person, who is usually appointed by their community through a general agreement. The appointed representative will later report the group's votes to election officials.
KPU commissioner Hasyim Asyari said his commission was striving to reduce the use of the noken voting system in elections as it went against the national system of direct voting.
"We're also worried that the person representing the voters will deliberately change their vote without their consent," Hasyim said as quoted by kompas.com on Monday. To prevent such cases, Hasyim said the commission would evaluate the system.
Six regions in Papua use the system, namely Deiyai, Jayawijaya, Mamberamo Tengah, Mimika, Panai, and Puncak.
Out of eight regional elections to be conducted in Papua this year, only the Papua provincial election and the Biak Numfor regental election will not use of the noken voting system. (dpk/ebf)
Andreas Harsono A Christian group in Jayapura, the capital of Papua province, recently issued a stark 14-day ultimatum to municipal authorities: Dismantle the minaret of the city's Al-Aqsa mosque by the end of February or the group would "take their own action."
The source of the Jayapura Churches Association's anger? The mosque's minaret was higher than any of the church steeples in the surrounding neighborhood.
The bad news for the Al-Aqsa congregation is that the law is on the Jayapura Churches Association's side. That's because the 2006 government regulation on "religious harmony" gives "majority religion" adherents the right to block construction of "minority religion" houses of worship.
The irony is that in Muslim-majority Indonesia, the regulation is overwhelmingly used to block the construction of non-Muslim houses of worship, including Christian churches. For example, the Taman Yasmin Indonesia Christian Church congregation in Bogor, outside Jakarta, had acquired government approval to build a church in 2003, but opposition from Muslims in the area stalled construction and eventually forced the church's closure. Despite successful legal appeals the congregation won a Supreme Court decision in 2010 local authorities have refused to enforce the decision and the church remains closed.
But Papua province remains a Christian-majority region, meaning that Christians have the legal right to block construction or renovation of non-Christian houses of worship. The Al-Aqsa mosque's minaret problem reflects the danger of the 2006 regulation in that it overrides the rights of religious freedom and leaves religious minorities hostage to the discriminatory whims of their "religious majority" neighbors.
The 2006 regulation requires each local administration in Indonesia to have a "Religious Harmony Forum" to approve the construction of houses of worship. The composition of the membership of these forums are "proportional" with the religious population in each area, allowing majority religious adherents to effectively have veto power over the construction of houses of worship of religious minorities.
It is one of many discriminatory regulations that hinder the religious freedom rights of Indonesia's religious minorities. Those laws include the 1965 blasphemy law, which punishes deviations from the central tenets of Indonesia's six officially recognized religions Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism with up to five years in prison. The others include the 2008 regulation on the Ahmadiyah, which makes proselytizing by members of the Ahmadiyah community a criminal offense.
Those laws are backed by a government infrastructure that supports and perpetuates those discriminatory laws. They include the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Coordinating Board for Monitoring Mystical Beliefs in Society (Bakor Pakem) under the Attorney General's Office, and the semi-official Indonesian Ulema Council, which has eroded religious freedom by using their position of authority to press for the prosecution of "blasphemers." In predominantly Christian Papua, that infrastructure of course includes the Jayapura Churches Association.
The Jayapura Churches Association demands didn't end with its ultimatum for the dismantlement of the Al-Aqsa mosque's minaret. They submitted a laundry list of demands that included government action against "noisy loudspeakers" during the daily Islamic call to prayer, restrictions on Muslim missionaries in Papua and a restriction on mosque (but not church) construction inside government facilities.
The Jayapura municipal government responded to the ultimatum by establishing a six-member team that included three Muslims and three Christians, representing both governmental and nongovernmental organizations. The government has tasked the team with brokering a compromise between the Jayapura Churches Association and the Al-Aqsa mosque congregation. They have held several closed-door meetings since March but have yet to announce any breakthrough agreement.
Meanwhile in Jakarta, the Communion of Churches of Indonesia, an umbrella organization of Protestant churches in the country, and the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the semi-official umbrella organization of Islamic groups, have become involved in the controversy. According to an MUI spokesman, the two organizations have agreed that the Muslim minority in Papua should respect the Christian majority's demands if they are "appropriate." The demands that they agree are appropriate include reducing the height of the Al-Aqsa minaret as well as limiting the volume of mosque loudspeakers. That means the Jayapura Churches Association will get the demolition it demanded of the Al-Aqsa minaret and its reconstruction to a height that the association's members apparently won't find offensive.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia ratified in 2005, states that "persons belonging to... minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion." President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo should endorse religious freedom as a fundamental principle of his administration and ensure that government officials are not promoting abuses against religious minorities. The Jayapura case should be an opportunity to educate the Indonesian public that this majority-minorities regulation is nothing less than a legal tool to discriminate against religious minorities that erodes, rather than strengthens, Indonesia's pluralism.
Johnny Blades Nine West Papuans were arrested by Indonesian police in Jayapua today for a small protest over a visit by a Solomon Islands delegation.
The government-led delegation travelled to Papua's provincial capital at the invitation of Indonesia's government, but the way it slipped into Papua province largely under the radar has raised questions.
The delegation was led by Solomon Islands' Ambassador to Indonesia, Salana Kalu, and included the Solomons Prime Minister's Chief of Staff, John Teddie Usuramo, as well as a Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Rence Sore.
Five representatives from Solomon Islands' civil society were also part of the delegation, including a representative of the country's West Papua solidarity network, Lily Chekana.
A spokesman for Indonesia's government said one of the objectives of the visit was for the delegation to see first-hand the development and situation in Indonesia, particularly in the provinces of Papua and West Papua.
The visit was barely publicised in advance, but the Solomon Islanders had been invited by Wiranto, Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs.
While the delegation was scheduled to meet with Papua's acting Governor inside the provincial government headquarters in downtown Jayapura, a small protest was held outside the building.
Those demonstrating included students, activists and some staff from the secretariat of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua.
A spokesman for the demonstrators said their public action was a way of questioning why the delegation came to Papua "silently", but also of conveying thanks to Solomon Islands for its support for West Papuan self-determination and human rights.
Jayapura police broke up the protest and took nine of those demonstrating away before they were able to have access to the Solomon Islanders. It's understood the nine were questioned and soon released.
A brief statement from the Jayapura police chief suggested there was no significant incident outside the Governor's office, and appeared to deny that arrests had been made.
Speaking from his home in the US, the vice-chairman of the Liberation Movement, Octo Mote, expressed disappointment that Honiara had not told them about the visit.
"They didn't inform us at all, so I'm just predicting that one of the conditions of the visit from the Indonesian government was don't tell the Papuans," he said.
Mr Mote suggested it would have been culturally appropriate for the Solomon Islanders to consult with representatives of the indigenous Papuans before they came to Papua.
He said the Liberation Movement still felt its bid for an independent Papua had the support of Solomon Islands behind it.
The government of Solomon Islands has been one of the most vocal on the world stage about human rights abuses in Papua region, widely known as West Papua.
Until Rick Houenipwela recently replaced Manasseh Sogavare as the Solomons prime minister, the government had been championing moves to increase West Papuan representation in regional fora, notably the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
Under Mr Sogavare's chairmanship of the MSG, the Liberation Movement in 2015 achieved observer status in the group.
However Indonesia, whose government opposes the Liberation Movement, has controversially also been given a greater role in the MSG in recent years.
Even though Mr Sogavare remains influential as the Solomons deputy prime minister, the new leadership of Rick Houenipwela appears to be taking Solomon Islands on a different, more Jakarta-friendly approach to the Papua issue.
Although recent data from Indonesia's National Violence Monitoring System showed Papua was the most violent province in Indonesia, the government of President Joko Widodo has embarked on a major infrastructure development drive in Papua which it says is transforming the region for the better.
According to the Indonesian government spokesman, the Solomon Islands delegation would be discussing potential infrastructure development that Indonesia could assist with in the Solomons, particularly ahead of the upcoming Pacific Games.
He said health sector cooperation was also up for discussion, in particular the need of Solomon Islands hospitals for medical equipment such as CT Scanners.
The Solomons delegation was to be in Indonesia for a week. Its movements in Papua are being facilitated, at least in part, by Jakarta's Papuan envoys, Frans Albert Joku and Nicolas Messet.
Former Papuan independence advocates, Mr Joku and Mr Messet both returned to Papua from exile around a decade ago and have been advocating for West Papuans to accept Indonesian rule.
Aprila Wayar this month published her third novel, "Sentuh Papua", which covered human rights issues and the effects of Indonesian transmigration in Papua.
Transmigration refers to movement of landless people from densely populated areas of Indonesia to less populous parts of the country.
Ms Wayar, a former journalist, said that after Indonesia took over Papua in the 1960s, early migrants settled relatively smoothly. But those who have come 2001 when Papua gained Special Autonomy Status were a different story, she said.
"They tried to make many conflicts then between native Papuans and Indonesian people. For me, it's heartbreaking because we have a good life before when the first transmigrasi," Ms Wayar said.
"But after that everything disappears, and people not know each other, they make sectarian violence."
Statistics released last year by Indonesia's Statistics Office showed that the proportion of Papuan people as a percentage of Papua region's population was declining and that they were on track to being a minority in coming years.
However, Indonesia's government denied claims that transmigration patterns created conflict and marginalised the indigenous Melanesians of Papua.
It said people in Indonesia were free to move around, and that transmigration helped with a transfer of knowledge from migrants to Papua which in turn assisted with development outcomes.
Ms Wayar's claim came as a newly compiled analysis on data from Indonesia's National Violence Monitoring System showed Papua was the most violent province in Indonesia.
In 2014, the most recent year for which the System's data was available, five percent of the country's reported violent deaths were in Papua province (151 out of 2,943).
This was despite Papua province, with its population of around three million, being only a little over one per cent of Indonesia's overall population of around 265 million.
The analysis, 'Violent Death in Indonesian Papua', found that the leading cause of homicide in Papua was crime. Deaths linked to "separatism" came second.
It found that between 2010 and 2014, violent incidents initiated by so-called separatist groups resulted in more deaths than the actions of Indonesian security forces.
However, a higher proportion of the victims in killings and injuries caused by security forces were civilians, whereas victims in separatists' attacks tended to be security forces.
The analysis included fear and mistrust between Papuans and migrants as a factor behind some of the trends of violence, and identified disputes over land as a leading cause of violent deaths in Papua. A Papuan group was taken in by Indonesian police on 7 April 2018 after holding a public collection for donations to a relief fund for earthquake victims in neighbouring Papua New Guinea.
Meanwhile, Ms Wayar's novel, which was published in Bahasa Indonesian language, was written from the perspective of a foreign journalist in Papua and was based on a true story.
"I became the fixer of him, and for me as a novelist it's a very interesting story because it gives me a lot of new perspective about Papua," she explained.
"He understands Papua's story better than me as a Papuan. Because he's from the Netherlands and he knows about Papuan history.
"But there's a little bit of distance between new generation of Papuans now and the history. Because, when the first generation of Papuans fled Papua in the beginning of the 1960s until 1984, they also took the Papuan history with them."
Apriadi Gunawan, Medan, North Sumatra Environment watchdog Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) is calling on the government to immediately stop illegal crude oil drilling activities in Aceh, following a fire at an illegal oil well in Peureulak, East Aceh, early on Wednesday that killed 11 people.
WALHI Aceh director M. Nur said his group had reported the illegal crude oil exploration activities in Peureulak to local administrations a long time ago.
However, the authorities have tended to play down their complaints so that the illegal wells continue to operate until today.
"Since 2012, we have called on the government to close down the illegal exploration activities because they are dangerous and have polluted the environment. However, the mining activities conducted in the name of people have continued to take place," Nur told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
The environmentalist further said Aceh had two illegal crude oil drilling locations, namely in Peureulak and in Bireun. The two sites still operated even though in 2016 an oil well in Bireuen was set ablaze. No fatalities were reported in that incident.
Nur deplored the Aceh administration for not taking tough measures against illegal oil exploration activities that were dangerous to residents living in the surrounding areas. Drilling activities in the illegal wells were conducted without clear regulations and adequate safety equipment.
Citing an example, Nur said, many workers smoked as they carried out drilling activities. They were also not supplied with safety equipment, posing dangers to the drillers themselves and people nearby. (ebf)
Iffah Nur Arifah The decision of the Aceh Provincial Government in Indonesia to move flogging from public into more closed spaces has drawn resistance from the public and the local parliament.
On April 12, Aceh's governor Irwandi Yusuf signed a new rule to ban the whipping of criminals in public.
Under the new rules, it is forbidden to record people being caned with a rattan stick crowds often film the spectacle on smartphones and only journalists and adults can witness the punishment inside private prisons.
But members of a controversial group, Islamic Defender Front (FPI), staged a public protest in front of the governor's office over the weekend the protest turned violent and several people were arrested by the police.
The local head of Islamic Defender Front, Muslim at-Tahiry, said he opposed the decision to move caning away from the public eye.
"Based on Islamic law, the whip should be done in public, witnessed by the believers," he said.
"That is to be a lesson for the perpetrators and the people who watch it. So they really should be embarrassed. This works as a deterrent."
The local parliament has also rejected the new rule and filed a complaint to the Supreme Court in Jakarta.
"A special session of Aceh's parliament has officially decided that parliament will take legal action against the governor's decision and we will ask that the regulation be revoked," MP Azhari Cage said.
Mr Cage added that the parliament also questioned the reasoning of the Aceh Provincial Government in linking public canings with startling investors and slow-down in investment in the province.
"Since the law has been in force, no society or investors have protested," he said. "We agree that investment in Aceh should be improved but it is related to government and community support, the availability of things like electricity. This has nothing to do with the flogging."
But a lecturer from the Ar Raniry State Islamic University of Banda Aceh, Fuad Mardhatillan, told the ABC the governor's decision to stop public caning did not violate Aceh's Islamic criminal laws, otherwise known as Qanun Jinayat.
"The Qanun does require whipping in a public place, but by moving to the more closed place like in prison in my opinion does not limit public access," he said. "The reason is for children to not see the flogging, which I think is good from psychology point of view."
In his press statement after signing the new law, Mr Yusuf maintained that its primary aim was to prevent children witnessing the flogging.
"This is not reducing the punishment, I just want to make sure the implementation of the punishment is not being attended by children," he said. "But society is not forbidden from witnessing the flogging."
He admitted the punishment often triggered criticism internationally and the rule revision was necessary to curb this outside protest. "In order for investors not to be worry about investing in Aceh, this can also help to increase economic growth," Mr Yusuf said.
Muhammad Hendartyo, Jakarta President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) congratulated the female members of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) corps and the National Police during a morning assembly consisting of all-female members at the National Monument (Monas) in Jakarta today.
"During this opportunity, I would like to congratulate my fellow courageous women who are not afraid of challenges and risks with a happy Kartini Day," said President Jokowi.
Jokowi acted as the ceremonial inspector, leading tens of thousands of female members from the TNI, Indonesian Police, civil servants. The TNI Commander Hadi Tjahjanto, Police General Tito Karnavian, and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan were also present at the assembly.
TNI, Police, and general participants of the assembly had gathered at Monas since 06:30 am. Meanwhile, President Jokowi could be seen wearing a full formal suit and topped with a peci, which is a traditional Indonesian cap.
Arya Dipa, Bandung, West Java Workers, activists and students are set to commemorate International Workers' Day, also known as May Day, on Tuesday by staging a rally to call for higher minimum wages and better working conditions.
The protesters will urge the government to revoke Government Regulation No. 78/2015 on wages.
Bandung Militant Labor Unions Federation (Sebumi) head Aan Aminah said the government had discussed the regulation, which regulated wages, without involving workers. Labor unions should be involved in discussions to determine wage increases, he demanded.
"The state must guarantee decent wages for all workers without any exception. Hence, we also reject worker recruitment based on contracts, outsourcing and internships," said Aminah on Sunday.
Labor unions claim the government regulation contradicts Law No. 13/2003 on manpower.
Aminah said determining wage increases based on inflation and economic growth violated the right of workers to be involved in processes to determine minimum wages. This method also contradicted Law No. 21/2000 on labor unions and ILO Convention No. 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize.
When calculating wage increases based on inflation and economic growth, workers would be unable to achieve decent living standards, said Aminah. "The government's instrument to calculate decent living standards that will be assessed once every five years will not change much for workers."
National Union Confederation secretary-general Hermawan Susanto said May Day was a day of resistance. "We are calling on all workers to take the streets and voice our resistance against repression." (ebf)
Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta Environmental group Sawit Watch has called on the government to issue a special regulation for oil palm plantation workers, arguing that the 2003 Manpower Law does not adequately address their needs.
"A special regulation on oil palm plantation workers is needed. [...] Their jobs have unique characteristics, while current regulations mainly focus on industrial sector or manufacturing workers," Sawit Watch labour expert Hotler Parsaoran told journalists at a press conference about palm oil workers on Sunday.
Hotler said almost all oil palm plantation laborers in Indonesia experienced problems, such as an unclear working status, child labor practices, a lack of health and safety protection, low wages and union busting.
He was speaking on the eve of International Workers Day, also known as May Day, when workers across Indonesia are expected to take to the streets to fight for their rights.
This year, they specifically call on the government to revoke Government Regulation No. 78/2015 on wages, which they deem unfair.
Around 30,000 workers from 35 organizations, including Migrant Care, Kontras and LBH Jakarta, will participate in a long march that will be concentrated at the State Palace on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, around 150,000 people will also stage May Day rallies in other cities, including Bandung (West Java), Denpasar (Bali), Malang (East Java), Medan (North Sumatra), Surakarta (Central Java) and Pekanbaru (Riau). (ebf)
Lalu Rahadian A number of trade unions have chosen not to support President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo or Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 presidential elections.
The reason being that they believe that the 7th president of the Republic of Indonesia has failed to create prosperity for workers and that Prabowo is no better than Widodo because of his dark past.
"Our political position is that it would be better for workers to build their own party as an alternative or third political force", said Populist Democratic Trade Union (SEDAR) spokesperson Sherin when contacted by Tirto on Monday April 30.
SEDAR believes that Widodo's failures can be seen from the enactment of Government Regulation Number 78/2015 (PP 78/2015) on Wages under which the determination of annual wage rises are calculated based on the inflation rate and economic growth.
According to Sherin, the PP 78/2015 ignores the annual reasonable living cost index (KHL) survey which used to be used by workers to demand wage increases.
She also cited the massive infrastructure development program under the Widodo administration which has not been enough to create new jobs. According to Sherin, the government should be carrying out a program of national industrialisation in order absorb large numbers of workers.
"The wage policy formula still perpetuates low wages and flexible labour... One of the solutions (national industrialisation) is the nationalisation of foreign companies or at the minimum companies that declare a lockout being taken over by workers and the government assist in doing this", said Sherin.
SEDAR believes that Prabowo is no better than Widodo saying that the trade union will not support the chairperson of the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) because they want to safeguard the mandate of reformasi the reform process that began with the overthrow of former president Suharto.
Sherin says that Prabowo through his party have frequently been proven to support anti-democratic discourse. One example of this was Gerindra's support for the abolition of the direct election of regional heads and his party's push to give voice to the "Return to the 1945 Constitution" movement.
"Supporting Prabowo is the same as betraying reformasi... Prabowo is clearly problematic because he has a track record of human rights violations. Moreover this has been exacerbated with reactionary and intolerant [religious] groups gathering support for him", said Sherin.
SEDAR believes that the position taken by several trade unions who have declared their support for Widodo or Prabowo is pragmatic. They also warn that pragmatism on the part of labour groups will not have a positive impact on the working class.
According to Sherin, trade unions must learn from the experience of the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election when the Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) supported the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan and Sandiaga Uno election ticket.
This support was complimented with a political contract which contained the 10 demands of the workers and the people, abbreviated as Sepultura. But right after Baswedan and Uno won the election and were sworn in as the capital city's new leaders, the political contract was disregarded, which infuriated the KSPI.
"Giving political support to one particular figure is only in the interests of pragmatic politics. Mostly it is in order to get [government] posts or for carrier [advancement]... The Jakarta regional election last year should have provided a lesson that political contracts haven't got any teeth. Workers supported Anies, right, but in the end weren't given the wage rise they demanded", said Sherin.
Confederation of United Indonesian Workers (KPBI) deputy chairperson Jumisih shares SEDAR's views on the elections. The KPBI has called on workers, students and the urban poor to build their own political force rather than supporting any of the candidates in the 2019 legislative and presidential elections.
Another trade union, the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI) says that at every national or regional election workers are simply turned into a vote reserve.
KASBI general chairperson Nining Elitos believes that the 2019 elections are a capitalist's festival, not a people's festival borrowing from the popular term "festival of democracy" to refer to elections.
She says that her organisation is taking a neutral position on the elections but respects the decision by other trade unions who want to support specific figures.
"Both of them [Jokowi and Prabowo] as we see it don't have a perspective that sides with workers or the ordinary people", said Nining.
In the lead up to the 2019 elections, two trade unions have declared their support for potential presidential candidates. The KSPI, which is chaired by Said Iqbal for example, says that they will support Prabowo. The Confederation of Prosperity Labour Unions (KSBSI) meanwhile has remained consistent in supporting Widodo as it did in 2014.
The KSPI decided to support Prabowo following a national working meeting (rakernas) on Saturday April 28. A declaration supporting Prabowo will be read out when they commemorate International Labour Day (May Day) on Tuesday May 1.
"One of the KSPI's considerations for giving support to Prabowo was because he has a commitment to pursuing the 10 demands of the workers and the people (Sepultura) which was submitted by the KSPI in the form of a political contract", said Iqbal in a written press release received by Tirto.
The KSPI is not just supporting Prabowo, but has proposed that recently sacked Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli be his vice presidential running mate. According to Iqbal, Ramli can find solutions national economic problems.
"Several of the [Widodo] government's policies are not pro-worker, such as Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on Wages, the Tax Amnesty Law and Presidential Regulation Number 20/2018 on Foreign Workers", said Iqbal.
The KSBSI meanwhile, through its general secretary Eduard Marpaung argues that it also has its own reasons for supporting Widodo. According to Marpaung, his group will not support Prabowo because of the past human rights issues that surround the Gerindra politician.
"With regard to [our] support for Jokowi, it will not be withdrawn until there is a new announcement on the KSBSI's political position at the 2019 Congress", said Marpaung.
The KSBSI gives Widodo a rating of 6.5 in improving workers' welfare since 2014. According to the union, Widodo still needs to improve many of the concrete problems facing workers.
But, they appreciate Widodo's commitment in continuing to provide Social Security Management Agency (BPJS) healthcare facilities and promoting infrastructure development.
"With regard to investment from China and other countries which give foreign workers a free ride, I think that this is an effort to develop the labour intensive sector and increase the demand for new workers domestically", said Marpaung.
KSPI president Said Iqbal, who supported former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander retired General Prabowo Subianto's failed 2014 presidential bid, also supported the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket in the religiously and ethnically divisive Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017. He later withdrew his support for newly elected Governor Baswedan calling him a "liar" after he failed to honor a political contract pledging not to use the PP 78/2015 to determine the 2018 minimum wage rise.
The Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) has decided to support Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson Prabowo Subianto as a candidate for the 2019 presidential election. The decision was taken at a KSPI national working meeting (Rakernas).
KSPI president Said Iqbal said that the decision was taken after leading representatives of trade union federations affiliated with the KSPI and those attending the Rakernas conveyed their views about prospective presidential candidate figures that could be supported in 2019.
"So far it is only Prabowo Subianto who has had a commitment to pursuing the demands from workers and the ordinary people. Because of this, KSPI workers will give their unanimous support to him to become president for the 2019-2024 term", said Iqbal in a release received by Kumparan on Sunday April 29.
According to Iqbal, Prabowo is committed to pursuing the 10 demands of workers and the people (Sepultura) which were presented by the KSPI in the form of a political contract.
This support, continued Iqbal, will be declared at an event at the Senayan Sports Arena in Jakarta on May 1 which will be attended by tens of thousands of workers.
In addition to this, the KSPI is also recommending to political parties that they nominate recently sacked Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs, Rizal Ramli as Prabowo's vice presidential running mate. Ramli, they said, is the right person to be vice president because he understands and can find solutions to economic problems.
Said Iqbal and KSPI, who supported former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander retired General Prabowo Subianto's failed 2014 presidential bid, also backed the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket in the religiously and ethnically divisive 2017 Jakarta elections. This included taking part in protests by hard-line Islamic forces seeking to oust incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and ethnic Chinese Christian who lost the election to Baswedan and was subsequently jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges.
Jakarta Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) president Said Iqbal says that the KSPI will declare its support for Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson Prabowo Subianto as candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
The union plans to publically declare this support at the commemoration of May Day on May 1.
"On International Labour Day, the whole world will witness all Indonesian workers declaring [their support] for Bapak Prabowo Subianto as the candidate which will be backed in the 2019 presidential election", Iqbal was quoted as saying by the Antara state news agency during a nationalist seminar titled "Ending the Corporate Greed Toward a Prosperous Country", which was held by KSPI at the Struggle 45 Building in Central Jakarta on Sunday April 29.
KSPI wants the next president to fulfill a number of demands, including among others, decent wages, an end to outsourcing and the repatriation of foreign workers from China.
Prabowo meanwhile has praised the support coming from workers. "You have decided to give me your trust to step forward as a presidential candidate for the Republic of Indonesia in 2019. For me, receiving the trust of labour groups is a huge honor", said Prabowo.
"This support is very important. This will give me strength in my life's struggle", he added.
Prabowo said that whoever becomes the leader of Indonesia in the future will have the task of protecting the entire Indonesian people. "The Indonesian people must be safe and cannot be allowed to worry about the future, worry about jobs, and having a decent life", he said.
According to Prabowo, the Indonesian state which was desired by Indonesia's founders was a country of prosperity, not a country of conglomerates.
Thus all Indonesian citizens must have a decent and prosperous life, something which is not just enjoyed by a specific group or a handful of people. "I will fight for the interests of the ordinary people and the Indonesian nation", he said.
Said Iqbal and KSPI, who supported former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander retired General Prabowo Subianto's failed 2014 presidential bid, also backed the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket in the religiously and ethnically divisive 2017 Jakarta elections. This included taking part in protests by hard-line Islamic forces seeking to oust incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and ethnic Chinese Christian who lost the election to Baswedan and was subsequently jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges.
Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta The International Labor Organization (ILO) and Sindikasi, a trade union for media and creative workers, has expressed concern over work-related stress among employees in Indonesia.
"Mental health is becoming a rising cause of concern, especially for those who work in the creative and media fields," Raisya Maharani of Sindikasi told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Raisya said based on research by Sindikasi in January, advertising agencies and production houses were among the most stressful workplaces.
"This happens because management policies do not apply a balanced work organization, so they work overtime," she said. Overtime has become the norm in some workplaces, she said.
ILO said it was a risk to health and safety when work load and hours exceeded worker's capability, resources and ability to cope.
A dangerous working environment covers not only biological, technical and physical aspects, but also work organization. "Poor work organization becomes the root cause of an unsafe and unhealthy work environment," said Lusiana Julia, national program officer of ILO in Indonesia.
In conjunction with the commemoration of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28, the ILO in collaboration with Sindikasi is holding the Occupational Safety and Health Festival titled "Safe and Healthy Generation" on April 28 at Gedung Kerta Niaga, Kota Tua, Jakarta.
Jakarta House of Representatives (DPR) deputy speaker Fadli Zon from Prabowo Subianto's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) has initiated a right of inquiry special committee into the issue of foreign workers in Indonesia.
The inquiry will look into Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 20/2018 on the Use of Foreign Workers (TKA) which was signed by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo earlier this month.
The proposal for a right of enquiry, which was signed at the parliamentary complex in Jakarta on April 26, was held after meeting with Indonesian Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) president Said Iqbal, who is also the president of the Indonesian Metal Trade Union Federation (FSPMI).
A number of KSPI leaders attended the meeting including Indonesian Association of Trade Unions (ASPEK) president Mirah Sumirat.
Much of the discussion during the meeting between Zon, Gerindra Party politician Muhammad Syafi'i and the KSPI representatives was on the dangers of remaining silent over the Perpres TKA.
The reason being is that the regulation threatens the economy and political stability as well as state security. "Because it will be very easy for foreigners to enter Indonesia", said Zon.
According to Zon, there was no urgency in issuing the Perpres TKA. Moreover it will not increase the number of employment opportunities. "In fact it will close off job opportunities that could go to our workers", he said.
Zon also touched on an incident when foreign workers entered the grounds of the Halim Perdanakusuma airbase in Jakarta, which is a military facility.
Because of this therefore, according to Zon, the right of inquiry will also address the security aspect. Zon believes that a right of inquiry is needed in order to ensure there is protection for local workers from the onslaught by foreign labour.
Currently only the Gerindra Party faction has signed the proposal to form the foreign workers right of inquiry special committee (Pansus). Gerindra will be lobbying other party factions in parliament to establish the committee.
"Lobbying the other factions is still needed to get them to agree to the formation of the Pansus. So we will see which ones are concerned about our workers and which ones aren't. Hopefully all of them will support and sign it", said Zon.
Aside from Zon, the proposal was also signed by Gerindra legislator Muhammad Syafi'i who is also a member of the DPR's Commission III. Zon said that many parties have proposed that legislators form a Pansus into the Perpres TKA adding that he responded immediately because they were indeed in the process of discussing the proposal.
"Of course the process will [have to] go through several stages. This is the proposal stage [which requires] a minimum of two factions and 25 people, which was initiated by me and my colleague (Muhammad) Romo Syafi'i", he said.
Said Iqbal, who supported former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander retired General Prabowo Subianto's failed 2014 presidential bid and the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket in the religiously and ethnically divisive Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2017, has said that the KSPI will throw its support behind one of the candidates in the upcoming presidential elections but has yet to publically say who, insisting that they will announce their choice on May 1, May Day.
Moh Nadlir, Jakarta The Labour Movement for the People (Gebrak) will call for the formation of a political alternative at May Day demonstrations or the commemoration of International Labour Day on May 1.
Gebrak spokesperson Damar Panca said the public only sees a few issues being articulated in relation to labour affairs, such as decent wages and outsourcing.
"But we are aware that there is an urgent need. What is this urgent need? It is the development of a political alternative", said Damar at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) offices in Central Jakarta on Friday April 27.
According to Damar, it is time for workers to consider forming a united movement by developing their own political consciousness. "Because if we are going to make demands, if we don't have political consciousness then we won't be able to do anything", he said.
This is because existing legislation and regulations are drafted by the representatives of the political parties who sit in the House Representatives (DPR). According to Damar, the DPR does not represent workers let alone articulate workers' demands.
"Including their executive leadership, they are not worker representatives. They are also not representatives of people's power. But a regime that is indeed dominated by the power of capital", said Damar.
Because of this, said Damar, it is important for workers to improve their political consciousness and build their own political force.
"I think that that this is our principle call. Then on the question of other demands I think they will still be the same as in previous years", he said.
Gebrak plans to hold protests on May Day involving 150,000 workers from 18 provinces and 30,000 workers from Jakarta and the satellite cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Jabodetabek).
In all, 35 labour organisations will take part in the demonstrations. "For Jabodetabek [the protests] will be centred on the state Palace", said Damar.
The protests will begin at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle (Bundaran HI) in Central Jakarta then move off to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) offices on Jl. MH Thamrin.
Next, they will protest at the Arjuna Wijaya or Horse Statue, the Constitutional Court and the Radio Republic Indonesia building. The rally will end at the State Palace.
"[We'll] gather at 9am at the Bundaran HI. We're inviting all labour and people's organisations to come and unite in action", said Damar.
Jakarta Workers from across Greater Jakarta are set to march around the area of the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta in celebration of May Day.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said the workers would assemble at the Monas parking area. "Then they will march to the horse statue [Arjuna Wijaya Monument]," Argo said on Thursday, as reported by kompas.com.
Argo said the workers would continue their march to the Office of the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister on Jl. Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, before entering Monas through the Palace View Park.
Argo said the police had started with preparations for security and traffic measures for the upcoming May Day celebration. He said the Jakarta Police was in touch with the Banten Police and the West Java Police to estimate how many workers would gather in Jakarta for the May Day rally.
He also advised the workers to use May Day to spend some time with their families. "We are informing the workers that May 1 is Labor Day, the government's appreciation of the workers so they can spend time with their families and enjoy some recreation. It is a holiday, after all," he said. (ami)
Rachmadea Aisyah and Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration is having to defend its decision to simplify the licensing process for foreign-worker recruitment, with Jokowi's predecessor warning of an "invasion" of foreign workers.
Following its issuance in late March, Presidential Regulation No. 20/2018 on the utilization of foreign workers immediately drew strong reactions, particularly from labor unions and Jokowi's political opponents who have since used the issue to attack the government.
Those who have denounced the regulation include the Confederation of Indonesian Workers Union (KSPI), lawmakers at the House of Representatives and even former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri insisted that the regulation did not remove any existing requirements for foreign workers to work in the country but merely simplified procedures.
"This presidential regulation does not remove any qualitative requirements from the [permit application] process," Hanif said. "It only simplifies the procedural and bureaucratic steps of the requirements."
Citing an example, the minister said the presidential regulation cut the licensing process for foreign workers to six days from the previous 20 days with some of the steps now being able to be done online.
Moreover, the validity of the Expatriate Placement Plan (RPTKA) obtained by the applicants will be more flexible, for as long as the work contract applied for instead of being valid for only one year as at present.
Hanif also gave an assurance that in addition to requiring foreign workers to pay extra fees, the regulation also limited foreign workers to managerial or higher positions, meaning that they would not take on blue-collar jobs, for which there is already an oversupply of low-skilled workers.
However, former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has questioned the rationale behind the issuance of the regulation. In his speech before hundreds of Cilegon residents in West Java, one of the country's biggest industrial cities, over the weekend, Yudhoyono said the "invasion" of foreign workers could lead to social unrest.
The regulation has triggered particular controversy in the run up to Labor Day on May 1. The KSPI says it plans to deploy 1 million workers in the annual May Day demonstrations, during which KSPI head Saiq Iqbal said they would demand the President revoke the regulation.
Politician Yusril Ihza Mahendra of the Crescent Star Party (PBB) has said he will assist the KSPI in taking the regulation to the Supreme Court for a judicial review. "I will act as the lawyer for the KSPI in filing for a review of the controversial regulation," Yusril said in a statement.
Outspoken lawmaker Fahri Hamzah, meanwhile, has called for the formation of a special House committee to launch an inquiry into the regulation. He claimed many Indonesians were disappointed that the government had chosen to bring in foreign workers rather than employing them.
Meanwhile, Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Thomas "Tom" Lembong said on Monday an inflow of foreign workers was inevitable as Indonesia was still highly dependent on foreign direct investment.
"The investors are willing to take a chance on billions and even trillions of their money being invested [in Indonesia], so they will certainly send their people to safeguard the use of those funds," Tom said.
He claimed that the permit applications had long been an obstacle for foreign employers who wanted to bring in their own talent, thus discouraging them from maximizing their investments in the country.
Furthermore, foreign workers make up only a tiny proportion of the overall Indonesian workforce. Data from the BKPM shows, as of 2017, there were only 126,000 foreigners among the total of 121 million workers in the country.
Separately, Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) chairman Hariyadi B. Sukamdani welcomed the new presidential regulation on foreign workers, saying it gave a clear timeframe for permit issuance for workers and their employers.
"The regulation benefits employers that need foreign workers, because when the process [of permit issuance] has passed the deadline, the permit is assumed to be approved," said Hariyadi.
He denied claims the regulation would lead to foreign workers stealing local workers' jobs, as he believed the trend for foreign workers had declined in recent years. "Employing foreign workers means greater costs, as you have to prepare accommodation, flight tickets and if he or she has family, you also have to pay for them," he said. "I believe that now a company only can afford to employ [foreigners] for three years."
Hariyadi gave the example of Chinese workers, who have been subject to many complaints, but who will leave as soon as their projects are finished. "It's logical that a contractor wants its trusted employees to run the projects," he said.
One of the conundrums facing President Joko Widodo is that his quest to increase foreign direct investment in Indonesia, in order to maintain the country's economic growth and infrastructure development (both of which have proven to be key to his current high job satisfaction rating), also opens him up to xenophobic attacks about foreign companies and workers taking over Indonesia.
A prime example of this is the presidential regulation (Perpres) on the use of foreign workers signed by Joko Widodo earlier this month with the aim of easing some of the challenges faced by companies looking to use workers from outside Indonesia.
The new regulation simplifies procedures for foreign workers coming to the country to work for short periods of time and streamlines the applications for limited stay visas (VITAS) and limited stay permits (ITAS) into one form.
Since the Perpres was passed, the president and Minister of Labor Hanif Dhakiri have been taking heat from numerous opposition politicians who have implied that the new regulations would somehow open the floodgates to foreign labor wide open so they can take jobs away from Indonesians (a sensitive issue that is easily weaponized, given the country's high unemployment rate).
Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon, who is also the deputy chairman of Prabowo Subianto's Gerindra party (and also fanboy to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin) attacked the Perpres as another sign that Jokowi's administration was prioritizing foreigners over Indonesians. He called for a special parliamentary committee to question the regulation.
"It should not be that foreign workers can enter [Indonesia] so easily without going through a long process. I think this takes away from our workforce," Fadli said yesterday as quoted by JPNN.
Fadli said that even before the Perpres was passed, Indonesia has seen a spike in foreign workers, citing government data that there were around 120,000 currently in the country.
But as the head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), Thomas Lembong, explained to reporters today, that figure describes the overall number of foreign workers in the country, including those on short term visas of one month. He said that the actual number of long-term foreign workers was 86,000, but noted that either figure was dwarfed by the country's overall population of 261 million.
"Out of 1,000 workers in Indonesia, 999 of them are our workers, and one is a foreigner, so it is very unlikely that those 999 Indonesians are afraid of being flooded by foreigners," Lembong said as quoted by Kompas.
Lembong defended the Perpres saying that it should significantly increase the amount of foreign direct investment but with very little increase in the number of foreign workers since the new regulation is mainly aimed at speeding up the existing permitting process, particularly for short-term workers.
It is also aimed at decreasing the amount of bribes companies have used in the past to get through the red tape needed to bring foreign workers over legally.
But the actual technical content of the Perpres seems to be of little relevance to politicians who want to find a chink in Jokowi's armor with which to attack him ahead of the 2019 presidential election.
Even former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who recently said that his Democratic Party was prepared to field a candidate in 2019, has begun attacking the current administration on the foreign worker front.
"The President and the Government of Indonesia have to defend their people, we have a lot of skilled workers, the government must be brave, we must be the masters of our own country," SBY said in a written statement released on Sunday picked up by CNN Indonesia.
Jakarta The Manpower Minister has played down public concerns over a possible influx of foreign workers and tighter job competition, which was fueled by a recent presidential regulation that cuts some red tape in hiring foreign workers.
Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri said on Sunday that the new regulation did not mean foreign workers could freely enter the country.
Hanif said Presidential Regulation No. 20/2018 addressed procedural problems in hiring foreign workers and that the public should not worry about foreign workers flooding the job market.
"For example, if the permit requires only a week, then why should [foreign workers] wait for a month?" he said, as quoted by Antara news agency.
The regulation, which President Joko Widodo signed on March 26, aimed to cut red tape in an effort to make Indonesia's investment climate more competitive.
Hanif said foreign workers entering Indonesia still needed to fulfill certain requirements and could only occupy certain positions. They could only work for a limited duration and must pay compensation, and were also forbidden from working as laborers.
At the end of 2017, there were 85,000 foreign workers in Indonesia, much fewer than the approximately nine million Indonesian migrant workers who worked abroad, said Hanif.
The ministry's data shows that 170,000 Indonesian migrant workers are in Hong Kong, 200,000 in Taiwan, and 20,000 in Macau. Meanwhile, only 36,000 Chinese workers were working in Indonesia. (hol/evi)
Jakarta A community organization has set up a post that aims to collect reports of intimidation during Car Free Day in Central Jakarta. The police have opened investigations into the cases.
In a video widely circulated online, people wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the text #DiaSibukKerja (#HeIsBusyWorking), as a show of support for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who will seek reelection next year, were reportedly intimidated during what was supposed to be a politics-free event at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Sunday.
The suspected intimidators, who reportedly wore T-shirts with #2019GantiPresident (#2019ChangethePresident) printed on them, were seen mocking the Jokowi supporters, accusing them of having been paid to wear the shirts.
Among the alleged victims was a crying child, whose mother stood up to the suspected intimidators.
"This post has been established because there are many reports of intimidation and abuse during the [Car Free Day] event," Cyber Indonesia chairman Muannas Alaidid said in a statement on Monday as quoted by tempo.co.
Cyber Indonesia comprises individuals who supported former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's reelection bid. Ahok was a close political ally of Jokowi.
The group, which previously reported Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan for closing a street in Tanah Abang to traffic, has said that it will accompany the intimidation victims on their quest for justice. (fac)
The 2019 presidential election is exactly a year away this month. But, despite the fact that no nomination has been made official yet, hardcore supporters and opponents of President Joko Widodo have already shown that next year will likely be far from peaceful.
An ominous sign of what is to come took place yesterday during Jakarta Car Free Day (CFD), when a huge anti-Jokowi crowd wearing #2019GantiPresiden (replace the president in 2019) t-shirts amassed around the Hotel Indonesia (RI) roundabout.
Jokowi supporters, wearing #DiaSibukBekerja (He's busy working) t-shirts, also showed up in considerable force, but were still vastly outnumbered by their rivals.
(Political rallies have in fact been banned from CFD since former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama's gubernatorial decree in 2016, yet it clearly wasn't enforced against the two t-shirt crowds yesterday.)
Some Jokowi supporters who dared to wear #DiaSibukBekerja t-shirts received some extremely hostile treatment from the #2019GantiPresiden crowd, as shown in this on-the-ground viral video from Youtube channel Jakartanicus:
The video shows three instances in which Jokowi supporters were intimidated by the #2019GantiPresiden crowd. First, a couple is taunted for wearing white #DiaSibukBekerja t-shirts, with the anti-Jokowi crowd taunting them by waving cash and jeering, "How much did they pay you (to wear the t-shirt)?"
Next, a middle aged man wearing a #DiaSibukBekerja t-shirt is shown receiving similar treatment from #2019GantiPresiden supporters, with the intimidation bordering on the physical as some shove the man as he tries to walk through them. Shouts of "cebong!" (a shortened version of the Indonesian word for "tadpoles", derogatorily used against Jokowi supporters to mock the fact that the president kept frogs as pets while he was the mayor of Solo and the governor of Jakarta) can also be heard throughout.
But perhaps the most disgraceful act by some in the #2019GantiPresiden crowd comes towards the end of the video, where they surround and screamed at a woman for wearing a #DiaSibukBekerja t-shirt. The woman is walking with a little boy, presumably her son (who wasn't even wearing a political t-shirt his featured a print of his hero Captain America), who seems to be crying due to the intimidation of the anti-Jokowi crowd.
Then, in what has already become an iconic act of defiance against hatred, the woman sternly tells the boy, "We are not scared! We are right! We will never be scared!". She then turns to the harassers and says, "By God, all of you! You treat a mother this way! What kind of Muslims are you?!" after which they back off.
The #2019GantiPresiden t-shirts have become a popular item throughout Indonesia since they were first sold earlier this month, with opposition party Gerindra admitting that they were one of the groups selling the t-shirts to help fund their chairman Prabowo Subianto's potential presidential campaign.
News outlet Viva also reported that there was religious element behind the #2019GantiPresiden action yesterday, as some in the crowd reportedly came out under the orders of hardline group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader and porn fugitive Rizieq Shihab, whose political support is being sought by Gerindra.
While the #2019GantiPresiden crowd dominated CFD yesterday, most political observers would say that, at the moment, their hopes of unseating Jokowi in next year's election are nothing but a pipe dream.
In the most recent major survey, President Jokowi's electability and government satisfaction rating continued to soar while the numbers of his closest potential challenger, Prabowo (whose nomination still hinges on whether his Gerindra party can consolidate their seemingly crumbling opposition coalition), is decreasing.
Friski Riana, Jakarta The community supporting for a presidential turnover in the upcoming election, known by its hashtag #2019GantiPresiden, has cancelled its plan to hold a Sunday run during Jakarta's car-free day.
"We didn't get the police permit, so we cancelled [the morning run]," said Ade Selon, Chairman of Jakarta's Youth Movement on Saturday evening, April 28.
According to Ade, the community's permit was denied because police maintained that Jakarta's car-free day is only meant to accommodate sporting and environmental activities which is consistent to Governor's Decree No 12/2016.
"I only believe in this, friendly gatherings (silaturahmi) will only expose God's grace," said Ade, who also maintained that the event was originally as a friendly gathering among members and was not meant to be a form of campaign.
"It's only circling the Hotel Indonesia roundabout wearing the #2019GantiPresiden t-shirt. Well it is [heading to the elections]," said Ade. The letter they sent to the police mentioned that the event would not be a political rally.
The community planned to gather members from other regions this morning at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout to hold a morning run wearing the t-shirt with a hashtag that went viral in the last couple of weeks.
Akhelaus Wisnu Triyogo, Jakarta Gerindra Party Chairman Prabowo Subianto officially opened the co-secretarial office of his party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) to the succession of the 2019 Presidential Election. In the launch event, Prabowo touched on the regeneration of the leadership for the younger generation.
"We have seen that younger generation has shown up and ready to take over the leader seats. We are now striving to prepare the regeneration," said Prabowo in The Kemuning, Menteng, Jakarta, Friday, April 27.
According to Prabowo, the presence of older generation today is aimed at coaching the young generation to be the next leader. "We remain here. If we are still needed by the people, we are ready to serve the community," he said.
The co-secretarial office is established as a dialogue room to formulate the plan prior to the Presidential Election next year as well as the central communication place of inter-parties to explore the possible coalition. Prabowo who had been supported by Gerindra has committed to forming the coalition with PKS.
He noted the initiative to establish the secretarial office was brought up from the people, not the party. "It is not my plan, but the people's. But this is the democracy, in which the movement comes from the community, people's movement," he added.
Prabowo further said that he appreciated the effort of young cadres of his party, PKS, and PAN. "They have delivered their idea and encouraged me to stand here," he said. PAN deputy chairman Hanafi Rais also attended the event.
Imam Hamdi, Jakarta Political expert from Jakarta State University (UNJ) Ubedilah Badrun said it was unlikely for former Indonesian military (TNI) commander Gatot Nurmantyo to run for president unless the latter had strong financial support.
"Entering the presidential election would require immense financial backing of around Rp3-7 billion. Not every political elite has that," said Ubedilah on Friday, April 27.
He added Gatot Nurmantyo had the electability and sociological odds to become a presidential hopeful, but lacked the political party factor to get him the ticket for the 2019 presidential race.
That would be his biggest homework. If not, his candidacy will merely be an idea," he said.
Ubedilah also believed that Gatot Nurmantyo's path to the presidential race was hampered by the fact that each party in the country was touting its own presidential contender, such as Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, who was backed by the Democrat, and the National Awakening Party (PKB) with Muhaimin Iskandar.
Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta National Mandate Party (PAN) deputy chairman Bara Hasibuan said on Thursday that his party had met with former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander and presidential hopeful Gatot Nurmantyo to discuss the possibility of backing him as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election.
"We have met with him informally, but we haven't made any decision yet," Bara said. "We are maintaining relationships with all parties and exploring all possibilities," he went on.
The politician acknowledged, however, that Gatot was among people being considered by PAN to throw its support behind. Meanwhile, PAN founder Amien Rais praised Gatot, calling him "a very good man."
"He is anti-PKI [now defunct Indonesian Communist Party]. He has also said that the NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] would not exist without the Muslim faithful," he said on Thursday. "He is a very wonderful man."
Amien said, however, that he still considered Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto the strongest possible contender for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
"But everything can change, if God says it will change, then it will change," he said, adding that the lines of communication with Gatot were still open. (ebf)
Alfan Hilmi, Jakarta A political observer from Padjadjaran University, Muradi, said Amien Rais's speech at Jakarta City Hall on Tuesday is not ethical. Muradi said Jakarta City Hall is part of the central administration and it is not part of the facility for practical politics.
"It is obvious that Pak Amien wants to make the Jakarta City Hall as a new axis and a resistance to the Palace (central government)," Muradi said on Thursday, April 26.
Previously, Amien Rais became a speaker at an event of women Muslim clerics called "Ustadzah Peduli Negeri" in Jakarta City Hall.
In front of the women presented at the event, Amien said President Jokowi is unlikely to win the 2019 presidential election because his electability decreased below 50 percent. Amien also briefly pointed at Jokowi's photo while giving the speech.
"If all of you care about the country and doing nothing; it is impossible. We have to move (do something)," Amien said.
Muradi explained Amien Rais did not show a good example in giving criticism. He viewed that as a public figure, Amien may convey his political views but not in government offices. "By doing so, people will be antipathy to Pak Amien," he said.
Muradi hopes that the Jakarta Regional People's Representative (DPRD) responds to Amien Rais's action. He said the DPRD should clarify whether the Jakarta City Hall can be used as a media of practical politics.
Imam Hamdi, Jakarta Survey agency Poltracking Indonesia executive director Hanta Yuda stated the former chief of the National Army (TNI) Gatot Nurmantyo can be the dark horse if he obtains the ticket to run in the Presidential Election next year.
"Even so far, Gatot's electability rate is still below Jokowi's and Prabowo's, he can become the dark horse," said Hanta in Jakarta, Tuesday, April 24.
According to Hanta, the electability rate of Gatot Nurmantyo can be elevated so long any party interested to support him. Hanta added, Gatot is able to be a presidential candidate if the third political axis arises or any party appoints him to run the election. "It depends on the political communication," he said.
Other than Gatot Nurmantyo, Hanta mentioned several names who are able to be a presidential candidate including Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, the son of Democrat Party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Hanta further explained there is at least three requirement to have a chance in winning the election namely electability, access to the party, and logistics. "As for the capability can be discussed after the winning," he said.
Kanupriya Kapoor and Gayatri Suroyo, Jakarta Markets cheered Widodo's gamble to free up billions of dollars to build much-needed infrastructure, while the former furniture salesman also unveiled a series of reforms to slash regulations holding back Southeast Asia's biggest economy.
Now, less than a year from an expected hard-fought 2019 election, Widodo has made a "strategic policy shift", say senior government officials, dropping nearly $20 billion of infrastructure projects to focus on social welfare.
The government has also slapped price controls on staple goods such as fuel, power, rice and sugar moves that will surely be welcomed by voters.
"Of course he's thinking about elections. With these moves, he can gain popularity by benefiting the people and ensuring welfare both in the short- and long-term," said one senior official, who declined to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the issue.
Economists warn Widodo's return to "populist" policies may threaten Indonesia's investment climate.
"With national elections around the corner, Widodo appears to be backtracking on his reform agenda with a string of populist measures... moves that would pressure firms' profit margins and weigh on the investment climate," Fitch Group's think-tank BMI Research said in a note last week.
Widodo took office promising to boost annual economic growth to 7 percent and with an ambitious plan to build $350 billion worth of infrastructure across the poorly connected archipelago.
Indonesia has since earned coveted upgrades from ratings agencies. Standard & Poor's last year announced a landmark upgrade for Indonesia to investment grade status. This month Moody's Investors Services raised its ratings another notch, citing effective policies to support broad economic stability.
Indonesia has also jumped 19 places to 72nd in the World Bank's 2018 Ease of Doing Business index.
The 56-year old Widodo still enjoys high public approval, with recent surveys giving him a double digit lead over his main rival, former general Prabowo Subianto. Widodo only narrowly defeated Subianto in a bitterly fought 2014 election.
Subianto is expected to campaign on welfare issues, the cost of living and a perceived over-reliance on Chinese investment at a time when economic growth is stagnating at around 5 percent and consumption has been persistently sluggish.
Asked about the government's change in policy focus, Widodo's chief-of-staff said it was time to be "realistic".
"Development should not just be in the physical sector but also be oriented to the non-physical sector like vocational schools, education, religious schools, health," Moeldoko, a former military commander, said in an interview with Reuters. "The president is aware that we are achieving some success in the investment area, in infrastructure, in ease of doing business, and in deregulation... so we can leap to the next stage which is to focus on human development," he told Reuters.
Data shows that as of the end of 2017, around $100 billion worth of roads, ports, bridges and dams had been built or were under construction. But experts say it's unlikely the remainder of the programme can be finished before the end of Widodo's term in Oct 2019.
Denni Purbasari, the president's deputy chief-of-staff for economic affairs, said the government had taken into account external factors like rising global oil prices in its decision to re-route funds to public welfare.
"It's important to balance between economic progress and the burden borne by the people. We 100 percent believe that an adjustment must be made to fuel subsidies," said Purbasari.
Motorcycle taxi driver Ibrahim Naben, 34, believes Widodo's new policies can only boost the president's support base.
"Jokowi has been fair and has a record of policies that help the poor even in the most remote islands," Naben said, using the president's nickname. "We're not feeling the effects yet, but we anticipate any price controls will be good for welfare."
Widodo plans to keep electricity tariffs and fuel prices unchanged over the next two years by hiking subsidies by $588 million in 2018 and making state owned enterprises (SOEs) foot the rest of the bill.
Critics say the move is a reversal of the 2015 decision to scrap fuel subsidies and that the government is essentially forcing SOEs to subsidise prices.
Moody's has said it could undo its recent upgrade of Indonesia's government debt if the financial health of SOEs worsened and threatened the government's balance sheet. The finance ministry has said it will monitor such risks.
Another plan to force fuel retailers to get government approval before changing prices has been criticised as distorting the market.
Other efforts to boost purchasing power include imposing a ceiling price on rice, even though traders say the upcoming main harvest of the staple should contain prices.
Government officials insist the policy changes will not affect the core discipline of Widodo's economic agenda.
Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati recently told foreign correspondents the government was not returning to subsidising everything and was not curtailing market mechanisms. This year's budget deficit would be under 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, well below a legal cap of 3 percent, she said.
Arianto Patunru, a researcher on Indonesia's economy at Australian National University, said Widodo's actions should be seen in the context of a global shift towards populist policies.
"If the Indonesian government is carried away with this trend, I think the prospect is not so bright," he said, adding it was too early to say if it was a long-term risk to economic reforms in the Southeast Asian nation.
Jakarta Several Indonesian politicians are vying to become the vice-presidential running mate of Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto.
Last week, despite doubts that he would succeed in his bid due to potential problems in forming a coalition, a stagnant electability rating and dwindling resources, Prabowo was named the presidential candidate by Gerindra, the country's largest opposition party.
Following the announcement, the former army general is now faced with the difficult task of building a coalition to meet the presidential threshold, improving his electability rating and above all, picking a running mate that could boost his chances of winning.
Over the weekend, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) began making overtures to Prabowo, hoping to further cement its relationship and secure the ultimate prize, the vice-presidential ticket.
On Saturday (April 21), Prabowo joined PKS president Sohibul Iman on a bike ride along the city's main thoroughfares in an event staged to celebrate the party's 20th anniversary.
"The PKS is a loyal friend. They did not abandon Prabowo Subianto and Gerindra during difficult times. So it is hard for me to abandon the PKS," Prabowo said in his speech.
The PKS had previously come up with a list of possible vice-presidential candidates for Prabowo including Sohibul, deputy advisory chairman Hidayat Nur Wahid, former party president Anis Matta and West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan.
The PKS leadership is expected to make a big announcement on the vice-presidential ticket soon.
"We plan to make our official candidate declaration before May 13," PKS executive board chairman Mardani Ali Sera told The Jakarta Post on Sunday. "The PKS will whittle down the names (of the candidates) from nine to three, then Prabowo can just choose from among them."
While the PKS is working to promote its candidates to join Prabowo's ticket, the National Mandate Party (PAN) has made the same effort to woo the Gerindra leader.
The PAN leadership has agreed that party chairman Zulkifli Hasan is the best candidate to be Prabowo's running mate.
Several non-party figures have also been considered for Prabowo's running mate, including Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan and former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gatot Nurmantyo.
Charta Politika executive director Yunarto Wijaya said Anies would probably be Prabowo's best choice from an electability standpoint.
"Prabowo and Anies complement each other well. Prabowo is old, Anies is young; Prabowo is a military man, while Anies is a civilian," he said. "Anies also has an aura of victory around him since he won the Jakarta election, while Prabowo has had three failed presidential bids."
Anies has denied he has any intention to run in 2019.
The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network
M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta Gerindra Party has challenged the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan to account for the latter's recent remarks on Prabowo Subianto's willingness to become Jokowi's running mate in the 2019 presidential race.
"If he dares, just make a press conference, to talk about what actually happened," said Gerindra deputy chair Ferry Juliantono on Monday, April 23.
Ferry also dismissed rumors that Gerindra had asked for the vice presidential ticket from the Jokowi camp. "Do not think that we're the one who asked for the vice president position," he said.
Fery said it was impossible for Prabowo to accept a vice presidential offer from Jokowi on any condition. Prabowo, he added, would never betray his party, which had mandated him to run for president.
"The whole family of Gerindra party wants Pak Prabowo to run for president," he said.
According to Ferry, Luhut was instead the one who offered the vice presidential seat to Prabowo. ""Maybe Pak Luhut tried to convince Pak Prabowo about the vice presidency."
Jakarta (Bisnis.com) PAN or the National Mandate Party argues that it would be very difficult to form a third axis of power in the 2019 Presidential Election (Pilpres 2019) following the difficult requirements to nominate a presidential and vice presidential candidate.
PAN's central board (DPP) chairman Zulkifli Hasan said that it is nearly impossible to form a third political axis for the 2019 election outside of the incumbent candidate Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and Gerindra's Prabowo Subianto since the minimum requirement to submit a candidate is to have 20 percent of the seats in the House of Representatives (DPR).
"That requirement forces political parties to form a coalition. It's nearly impossible to form a third political power," said Zulkifli on Sunday, April 22.
This well includes PAN that has 9 percent of DPR seats that will not be able to submit their own presidential and vice presidential candidate. This fact leaves them with two options in facing the Pilpres 2019, either join forces with opposition party Gerindra or the incumbent with Jokowi.
The current internal affairs at PAN suggest that there have been no talks whether the party will support either Prabowo or Jokowi in the form of a Party coalition, which was spelled-out by Zulkifli; "Everything is still discussed."
Wahyoe Boediwardhana, Sidoarjo, East Java The East Java Police arrested Rendra Hadikurniawan on Friday on blasphemy allegations after Rendra posted a video that went viral in which he allegedly insulted the Prophet Muhammad.
Sidoarjo Ansor Youth Movement (GP Ansor), the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, said the statement from Rendra, who was a member of the Democratic Party prior to the allegations, had hurt a lot of Muslims.
"We reported him to the police to avoid further public unrest," said the organization's deputy chairman, Rachmad Muzayin, on Friday.
East Java Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Frans Barung Mangera said that the police officers had arrested Rendra in Trawas in Mojokerto.
"Rumors say Rendra developed a mental problem after he separated from his wife," Barung said. "But I don't think that someone with a mental problem could record a video while driving a car before uploading it to a Facebook account."
The secretary of Nahdlatul Ulama's East Java chapter, Akhmad Muzakki, said he deplored Rendra's statement. He blamed the overflow of information inundating the internet as the cause of such behavior.
"Some people consume fake information as it is. They fail to filter which news to read and share," he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.
In the seven-minute, 55-second video, the 39-year-old reportedly accuses the Prophet Muhammad of having stolen another man's wife and claims the Prophet is an ordinary human being who could not act fair.
"So let me explain, the Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet, but he is just an ordinary human a human who was born in Arabia. Nothing is good about him, he stole someone's wife," Rendra said in the video that he took while he was driving.
Rendra went on to express doubts over the Prophet Muhammad's words, which, according to him, had been glorified.
Responding to the issue, the party immediately dismissed Rendra from the Democratic Party. The secretary of the Democratic Party's East Java branch, Renville Antonio, confirmed the dismissal.
Renville said the party branch had received a copy of Rendra's dismissal letter from the Democratic Party in Sidoarjo regency. Moreover, Renville also received reports that the former member is believed to have psychiatric disorders. (vla/roi/evi)
Nur Hadi (contributor), Surabaya Democrat Party's Sidoarjo branch executive board (DPC) chair Juana Sari has made a public apology in behalf of its party member Rendra Hadikurniawan, who was recently named as a suspect in a blasphemy case for allegedly defaming the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.
"We apologize to the entire member of the public, especially the entire Muslim community for what has happened," said Juana on Friday, April 27.
According to Juana, Rendra is the son of a Sidoarjo Legislative Council (DPRD) councilor from the Democrat Party, and that his membership was by his mother's request.
Juana suspects that Rendra is currently suffering mental health issues since his mother, the DPRD councilor, had a stroke that added to more economic pressures towards them.
"That might have an effect on Rendra's psychological health," said Juana, who has also fired Rendra from the party's membership. "We do not tolerate blasphemy," Juana added.
Previously, Rendra recorded himself speaking in a condescending tone and inappropriate language against the Islamic Prophet through his Facebook account on Wednesday, April 25, which eventually went viral and stirred public uproar.
Alfan Hilmi, Jakarta The President's volunteer group, Jokowi National Secretariat (Seknas Jokowi) regrets the ill-conceived statements often expressed by former People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Chairman Amien Rais.
Seknas Secretary General Dedy Mawardi referred to Amien Rais' public statement on Satan's political party, the president's false land certificates, and the government's authoritarian governance could potentially lead to a public discordance.
"Amien Rais' comments were impolite. It only promotes hatred and his personal vendetta against Jokowi and other political elites," said Dedy on Sunday, April 22.
As numerously reported Amien Rais has been issuing controversial statements such as accusing Jokowi's land certificate program as false and claimed that Indonesia's lands are mostly owned by foreign citizens.
Amien Rais also mentioned several political parties and categorized them into two classes; Satan's parties and Allah's parties. This speech was made during a mass-morning prayer that Amien attended in Mampang Prapatan in South Jakarta.
Furthermore, Dedy said that Amien Rais' statements are blatantly not factual that Dedy considers as; "Imaginative and fictitious arguments," he said.
Jakarta (Antara) President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has endlessly issued clarification on the issues and allegations that accuses him of being involved in the extinct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and people who accuse him of being captured in vintage pictures of PKI members taken in 1955.
"Look at this picture when the PKI Chairman in 1955 campaigned for the general elections, it's DN Aidit giving a speech, [some suggest] I am the person below him [in the picture]. I wasn't even born then," said President Jokowi while showcasing the photograph in question during an event in the Pondok Gede Hajj hostel in East Jakarta, on Wednesday, April 25.
Furthermore, he explained that the social media accusations had been circulating for the past four years which accuses him of being one of the people in the crowd listening to DN Aidit giving a speech.
"I was born in 1961 and PKI was disbanded in 1965. I was 3.5 or 4 years-old back then, you think there's a toddler PKI member? [The accusations] are just plain illogical," said the seventh Indonesian President who further suggested that the picture might have been doctored to resemble him.
Furthermore, President Jokowi asserted the importance of focusing people's energy and time on improving the country, not wasting time on slanders and defamation.
Regardless of the many goings ons behind the scenes in the world of Indonesian politics leading up to the 2019 presidential election, the one thing that's assured is that President Joko Widodo will run for reelection.
At this point in time, barring any disastrous scandals, his victory is also all but assured, and that near-certainty is backed up by the incumbent's hypothetical landslide win in the latest presidential survey possibly the most ominous one yet for anyone challenging him.
According to a poll released today by Kompas' Department of Research and Development (Litbang) one of the most trusted and reliable survey bodies in the country if the presidential election were held today, President Jokowi would receive a whopping 55.9% of the votes.
That is miles ahead of Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto who already lost to Jokowi in 2014 and whose 2019 candidacy still depends on his party consolidating a coalition to fulfill the presidential nomination threshold requirement who was picked by just 14.1% of potential voters in the survey.
Not only do those numbers look bleak for Prabowo, they represent a downward trend for the former general, who had received 18.2% of the votes in the same poll six months ago. By comparison, Jokowi's numbers have increased considerably, up from 46.3% six months ago.
Former Military Commander Gatot Nurmantyo whose chances of becoming the third presidential candidate are slim but not mathematically impossible didn't do so well either, with a low score of 1.8% as compared to 3.3% six months ago.
Opponents wishing to discredit President Jokowi would have a hard time convincing the masses, as the survey also showed that 77.2% were satisfied with the performance of the current central government. That number rose by 9.1% compared to a year ago.
Jokowi's score in this survey is already higher than the percentage of votes he received in the 2014 presidential election (53.15%), during which time his sole rival Prabowo put up a close fight by securing 46.85% of the popular vote.
Kompas' survey was carried out from March 21-April 1, involving 1,200 randomly picked respondents in 32 provinces. The survey claims to have a margin of error of +/- 2.8% and a 95% confidence level.
Jakarta (Antara) Sri Mulyani was named the most vocal female by an interesting research conducted by the media intelligence company Indonesia Indicator (I2). It focused on the search for the most vocal female in Indonesia in the past year.
Furthermore, I2 viewed the Finance Minister as the country's top female and top influencer throughout the Indonesian mass-media from April 1, 2017, to April 1, 2018.
"Sri Mulyani became the figure that was most widely reported by the media. She appeared in 40,326 news reports. This means that Sri Mulyani was reported by the media 112 times a day on average," said Rustika Herlambang, Indonesia Indicator director of communications today.
Furthermore, Rustika explained that Sri Mulyani had even overtaken Megawati Soekarnoputri that is currently ranked as the second most vocal female in the past year. Megawati was reported 33,376 times by news agencies, which was mostly on her position in the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) as a kingmaker.
The poll was conducted within a whole year that involved 11 million news pieces that were reported by 3,364 online Indonesian speaking media. Surprisingly, there were only 104 female figures from the 2,000 names that emerged throughout the country's media reports.
Rustika revealed that women are only five percent represented compared to their male counterparts, which is not significantly different from last year's result.
Based on Indonesia Indicator's research, the ration of women and men in news pieces is 1:18 which means that from the 18 names reported by the media, there is only one female that is mentioned.
Yogyakarta Whenever heavy rains come at night in her neighborhood in the ancient city of Yogyakarta, schoolteacher Muryani remembers the worst floods she experienced, almost 35 years ago.
Sleeping with her mother and two young siblings in a bamboo hut to guard a farmer's goats from thieves, Muryani feared for their lives as flash floods burst through the door.
"Suddenly the water was so high... it came very fast," she said. "I was so worried about my mother, who was already quite old. I was afraid we would drown."
Muryani, 44, who goes by one name only, still lives in the same area, now a small settlement of about 300 residents called Pedak Baru which sits by a river close to Mount Merapi volcano.
As floods have become more frequent over the last five years, Muryani and 25 other local women have teamed up with the Yakkum Emergency Unit, a project that runs activities to help women protect their communities from disasters in Central Java and Yogyakarta.
Located along the Pacific Rim of Fire, Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands, and faces many natural threats, including earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.
The effects of climate change, such as worsening floods and drought, present further risks.
The Indonesian government spends an estimated $300 million-$500 million annually on building back after disasters, according to World Bank resilience officials.
While the Southeast Asian nation has reduced poverty over the last 20 years, many hover just above the poverty line and can easily be pushed back under it by a disaster.
But women can play a crucial role in minimizing the risks for their families and neighbors, experts say.
For Muryani and her family, regular floods have often destroyed their possessions and furniture which she cannot afford to replace and forced her two children to miss school.
But the disaster training she has received is helping. "It gives us an awareness for what to do when flooding happens and how to prepare," she said.
Indonesia has experienced an average of 290 significant natural disasters annually over the past 30 years, according to the World Bank officials.
They include the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 167,000 Indonesians. After that shock, Jakarta reformed its institutions, laws and policies to better manage disaster risk.
The government introduced a disaster management bill in 2007 that shifted the emphasis from merely responding to disasters towards trying to stop them happening and curbing their impact.
The new approach led to the strengthening of Indonesia's disaster management agency, with representatives and branches put in place across districts.
The disaster agency now encourages civil society groups like Yakum to involve women more in efforts to build resilience.
Despite the huge progress made in recent years, more work is needed, and a larger number of government departments should include disaster risk reduction in their projects, especially at the local level, said Arghya Sinha Roy of the ADB in Manila.
"Every disaster is not on a nationwide scale it can be a localized district or village-level disaster," he added.
Often marrying early, Indonesian women's traditional role in running the household means they are sometimes forgotten when a community draws up plans to deal with disasters.
This can lead to them being left behind at home during evacuations, or being unaware of safety procedures.
"When you look back at the 2004 tsunami, most of the casualties are women," said Irina Rafliana, a researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.
And women who survive a major catastrophe are often the ones responsible for getting their families back on their feet in tough circumstances, she added.
In Indonesia, as in many Asian countries, women often take care of the family and its finances, meaning they are best placed to suggest ways of protecting lives, property and incomes, experts said.
When disasters happen, women tend to quickly grasp the importance of saving key documents, for example. And because women spend more time in their neighborhoods, they can pinpoint high-risk areas and influence their peers.
"If you compare Indonesia with other countries in Southeast Asia, the role of women... in disaster risk reduction is among the strongest," said Rafliana.
Pedak Baru faces twin threats of flooding and damage to infrastructure caused by eruptions from nearby Mount Merapi.
The only access to the settlement is via a narrow, potholed road, while many of its two-storey houses are in a state of disrepair due to regular inundations.
Things are changing, however, especially since Yakkum began working with women in the community three years ago.
Pedak Baru's women first mapped out their neighborhood to identify the risks, and now regularly collect rubbish from the river, recycling plastic waste for money.
The women are trained in evacuation procedures and first aid, and help fill and place sandbags along the river's embankment when waters rise.
Despite scant funding, they have made life-buoys from rope and tires, and early-warning drums from bamboo. Signposts on walls point out escape routes and an evacuation point positioned on higher ground.
The women also hold regular talks with the local branch of the Indonesian disaster agency, and are campaigning for the permanent reinforcement of their river embankment.
Pedak Baru resident Farida Estiningrum, 39, said the scheme had been useful in helping young people too. "We have even trained the children on how to save themselves when the flood comes to the houses," she said. "We are prepared for everything."
Jon Afrizal, Jambi Land and forest fires have been detected in the regencies of Batanghari and Kerinci, as well as Sungai Penuh city in Jambi, the Batanghari Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) has said.
Two fires occurred in January, while one incident occurred in April. "A total of 3.2 hectares has been burned down, with five hot spots," he said on Thursday.
Production Forest Management Office (KPHP) unit I head Neneng Susanti said that as of April, the office had extinguished fires on 288.5-ha of land and forests in Kerinci regency and Sungai Penuh city, of which 122-ha of land and forests were burned down in January and the remaining 83.5-ha in February.
"The land and forest fires have caused hundreds of millions of rupiah in losses."
Citing reports from the Land and Forest Fire Control task force, Neneng said the forests were intentionally burned using slash-and-burn techniques to open plantations. "The team found evidence, including gasoline, on the burned areas," she said.
Neneng called on farming communities to use traditional techniques to clear land to protect and conserve forests.
Land and forest fire cases occur in Jambi every year. The Jambi Forestry Agency said 566- ha of land and forests across the province were burned down in 2017, up from 254-ha in the previous year. A massive forest fire in 2015 destroyed 19,528-ha of land and forests in Jambi. (ebf)
Jakarta A fire erupted at an illegal oil well site in Indonesia's northernmost province on Wednesday, killing at least 18 people and injuring about 40 others, some of whom were badly burnt, authorities said.
The fire broke out around 1.30am at a backyard well in a village in Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra Island, according to the National Disaster Management Agency.
Authorities were still trying to determine what had caused the fire. Local news reports said it may have started with a spark from a blowtorch or a worker smoking a cigarette.
Television news footage and photos showed flames rising at least 10 metres into the air in the farming village of Pasir Putih in East Aceh district, which is about 1600 kilometres north-west of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.
Villagers had gathered at the well shortly after midnight, carrying buckets, jars and barrels, in hopes of collecting crude oil after being told about a massive spill there, according to the disaster agency.
"A group of people came to gather up oil and they weren't supposed to be there," the disaster agency said in a statement.
At least five homes were gutted by the fire, the agency said. Firefighters and other emergency personnel, along with villagers, were still trying to contain the blaze on Wednesday evening.
Indonesia's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the state-owned oil company Pertamina sent teams to Aceh, which has industrial oil and gas operations, to investigate the incident, said Agung Pribadi, a ministry spokesman.
"This is a case of illegal drilling and the ones responsible for it must be dealt with by the law," he said.
Agung said the well was being operated by local residents, adding that he was not sure if there were other illegal wells in the area.
Lieutenant Colonel Wahyu Kuncoro, chief of the East Aceh district police, told reporters at the scene that firefighters were trying to "break the chain of oxygen" in the well to stop the fire. He confirmed the well operation was illegal, but he said many villagers depended on it for their livelihood.
Illegal well operations are common in Indonesian regions where oil is present, including on the islands of Sumatra and Java. In some cases, the wells were abandoned by the Dutch colonial administration that once ruled Indonesia, and are now run by groups of villagers working around the clock.
"Oil doesn't come up to the surface easily in these old wells, so they try to pump it up manually, then try to separate the oil by distillation in barrels, and that's where they probably had the fire," said Mangantar Marpaung, former chief of the Indonesian Mining Fire and Rescue Agency.
"Then they sell it as kerosene to the local market, or for motorcycles and fishing boats," he said. "Those are their customers. The local governments know, but because they can't provide any other jobs, they look the other way."
Jakarta (Antara) Head of the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) Budi Gunawan revealed that 39 percent of college students have been exposed to radical ideas.
According to the former Indonesian National Police Deputy, this statistic result is based on the investigation and poll conducted by BIN back in 2017.
"This condition exists in 15 Indonesian provinces and grabbed our attention of radical movement," said Budi Gunawan while giving a lecture at a college seminar in Semarang yesterday.
Furthermore, the statistics suggested that religious conservative ideas are in the rise and has drove BIN to closely monitor three Indonesian universities since these campuses are deemed to be the basis of radical ideas. However, he did not reveal the names of the three universities.
According to the poll, 24 percent of college students and 23.3 percent high-school students are in favor of conducting Jihad to establish an Islamic state.
"This condition is worrying since it threatens the sustainability of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia [NKRI]," said Budi.
What is worrying is the fact that a college graduate from one of Indonesia's state university was involved in a terror act in Jakarta a while ago, which Budi asserted is proof that radical groups have targeted the campus environment to mobilize new terrorists.
Mukhlis Dinillah, Bandung Padjadjaran University (Unpad) students are protesting the use of Mobile Brigade (Brimob) paramilitary police as security on campus. The students say that their presence threatens the democratic freedom of Unpad students.
One of the students, Viona Mahardika, said that Brimbo's presence on the Jatinangor Unpad campus began to be felt in January when scores of campus security personnel were sacked after campus security was taken over by the agency PT Kartika.
She said that the sacking of security personnel attracted protests resulting in a meeting with PT Kartika and various Unpad elements at which PT Kartika said that they were cooperating with Brimob to improve security for an indefinite period of time.
"During the audience PT Kartika said that the use of Brimob for campus security would only be temporary until the selection of [new] satpam [security personnel] was complete", Viona told Detik.com on Friday April 27.
Since then, said Viona, Brimob personnel could be seen in the vicinity of the old front gate and at new building construction sites on Unpad. The Brimob officers maintained security along with campus security personnel but also monitor student activities.
"It has been most tangible this month because the Brimob officers aren't just maintaining (security) but I have felt on several occasions when [we've] held events on campus it's always under surveillance", said the German language student.
Viona gave the example of when she was with several other students holding a Kamisan action at Broklyn Unpad on March 29 and one of the Brimob officers approached the action and started taking photos.
Moreover she explained the Brimob officer asked questions about a permit for the action and the location being used. The Brimob officer admitted that they were asking these questions as part of their duties and would report it to campus authorities.
"Broklyn Unpad is a free public space, so there is no need for a permit. As students this is our home, how can a permit be needed. They [the Brimob officer] said that they were carrying out their duties and would report it as part of campus security. We are questioning this policy", she said.
"A similar thing happened to the LPPMD [the Democratic Society Study and Devotion Institute] when they setup a stall to recruit new members, as well to the Unpad BEM KEMA [Student Executive Council Student Community]", she added.
The sixth semester student said she deplored the involvement of Brimob in Unpad campus security because, she added, Brimob is a special police unit tasked with handling terrorism, explosives and assisting the TNI (Indonesian military) during war.
"Looking at these kinds of Brimob duties and functions, their presence on Unpad is misplaced. Just get rid of Brimob from the campus. Students will definitely be harmed by the undemocratic actions of Brimob", said Viona.
Viona's complaints have also been written about in an article on the LPPMD website. (ern/ern)
Kamisan Roughly translated as "Thursday Actions", every Thursday since January 18, 2007, the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) has been organising silent actions in front of the State Palace calling on President Yudhoyono to resolve past human rights cases.
Following previous calls for Muslims to boycotts over the company's support for LGBT rights, Starbucks once again became a focal point in Indonesia's culture wars last week after a video in which celebrity ustad (preacher) Abdul Somad told his followers that Muslims who patronize the international coffee chain are going to hell.
The video, which was taken from a question and answer session with Somad, was originally recorded and published on Youtube back in October of last year, but went viral just last week after being reposted to social media.
In the video, Somad reads a question from one of his followers who mentioned Starbucks' financial support for LGBT causes and asks what Islamic law would say about buying coffee there.
Somad replies saying, "Supporters of LGBT, in the afterlife it can be seen that they donated to LGBT. So when the angels ask the LGBT, how did you become so big? It's because of these donations. Who donated to you? Those in heaven will turn back and put in hell those who donated to Starbucks."
Somad goes on to say that there are plenty of other coffee places that do not support LGBT. He also criticized those who go to Starbucks not even to drink coffee but just for social media vanity.
Somad has gained a huge following on social media in large part due to his straightforward, down-to-earth preaching style. But, as many on social media noted, pretty much every major tech company including Twitter, Facebook and Google (which owns Youtube the platform on which he uploaded the video to) have all stated their support for LGBT rights as well, making his and his followers' use of those platforms more than a bit hypocritical.
Gimana bisa dijadikan panutan si Somad, ngomong minum kopi starbucks haram, masuk neraka dan berdosa krna dukung LGBT, Somad lupa klo video yg di upload di Youtube adalah salah satu media yg dukung LGBT termasuk twitter, Facebook dan Googlehttps://t.co/M8NE9UM6Av M.Antasena ? (@FigoAntasena) April 28, 2018
Way to be a role model Somad, talking about Starbucks coffee being haram, going to hell and sinning because of their support for LGBT, Somad forget that he uploads his videos on Youtube which is one of the media that supports LGBT including Twitter, Facebook and Google.
Others netizens and media pointed out that Starbucks has outlets in the two holiest cities in Islam, Mecca and Medina, and asked if these were also portals to hell.
Mungkin Somad tidak tahu, bahwa berdiri sebuah Starbucks Coffee di Madinah, dekat pintu gerbang Masjid Nabawi. Jadi jika dengan logika Somad https://t.co/JuDeukWD7U seword (@sewordcom) April 28, 2018
Si Somad tuh sebenarnya pernah ke Mekkah dan Madinah nggak sih? Lokasi Starbucks kan nggak jauh dari masjid.
Dan seolah-olah dia klaim dirinya sebagai Tuhan yang bisa menentukan orang masuk surga atau neraka! pic.twitter.com/eH84cDzYYU alex FRITS (@canzone) April 28, 2018
Somad is hardly the first religious figure in Indonesia to call for Muslims to abstain from Starbucks. In July, Yunahar Ilyas, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country's top Muslim clerical body, said those who supported LGBT rights and same-sex marriage were actually the ones violating human rights and joined calls by other prominent Muslim leaders to boycott the coffee retail giant.
"It is very clear that Starbucks supports this vile deed that is very contrary to Islam, it is even a form of human rights violation as it will allow for human extinction to occur," Yunahar said as quoted by Tribunnews.
(Netizens also noted that despite the condemnation of Somad and MUI officials, Starbucks was certified halal by MUI themselves.)
Yang diharamkan Somad kan ngopi di Starbucks. MUI malah memberikan sertifikasi halal tuh pic.twitter.com/v8TVIEmN2u T. Aditia (@topazaditia) April 29, 2018
Shannon Power Indonesian authorities intercepted a shipment of 'LGBT comics' at a major post office hub in Indonesia.
The Attorney General's office said it found hundreds of the comic books on Tuesday. They were intercepted at the Central Post Office in the country's capital Jakarta.
M Yusuf is the director of Socio-Culture and Society of the Deputy Attorney General's Intelligence Affairs (JAM Intel). He told media the Attorney General's office has set up agents at post office centers around the country to monitor mail.
Yusuf said investigators don't know much about the comics, but if they had not been intercepted them they might have ended up all across Indonesia.
'At the moment we are still investigating these comics, as well as publishers and we're still in the evidence collecting phase. But the comics are written in Chinese,' he said. 'If we find the culprit, we will turn them over to police.'
It is not known who sent the comics to Indonesia or what they comics were event about. But it appears they were written in Mandarin (Chinese).
It's not illegal to be gay in Indonesia but an ongoing crackdown of LGBTI people has seen the government ban things like; gay dating apps, showing effeminate men on TV and even GIFs on popular messaging service WhatsApp.
Usually the reason for banning such content is that it may contain pornography. But the interception of the LGBTI comics is the latest in a trend of government-sanctioned initiatives to 'monitor' the LGBTI community.
A draft bill is in the Indonesian Parliament which would ban any kind of 'LGBT behavior' on TV. The government has already banned LGBTI content online.
The Indonesian House of Representatives will soon also debate changes to the criminal code which would criminalize homosexuality. Debate on the Bill is due to resume in July.
Shannon Power An Indonesia religious leader said people were too 'permissive' of LGBTI people. He also said their 'apathetic' attitude was letting the LGBTI 'movement thrive'.
Gusrizal Gazahar is the chairman of the West Sumatra region's Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI). The Ulema Council is Indonesia's top Muslim clerical body and very influential in the Muslim-majority country.
'People tend to be apathetic when they witness this phenomenon as long as the perpetrator is not their relatives. This attitude continues to thrive the LGBT movement,' he told Tempo.co.
Gusrizal described LGBT as a practice and an ideology. He said there was a threat people could become LGBT 'victims'.
'These ideological people are actively spreading their behaviors. Society should not stand still and let that happen,' he said.
His comments come as anti-LGBTI sentiment grows in Indonesia. The LGBTI community has faced increased persecution from society and authorities since about January 2016.
But as the country nears national elections many political leaders have become very vocal in their opposition of the LGBTI community to appeal to the growing numbers of conservative religious groups.
Last month, Zulkifli Hasan, chair of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) said LGBTI people would run 'rampant' if they remained 'unchecked'. 'Incoming foreign values are believed to be great and followed by people. Then with that comes the rush of LGBT lifestyle, liquor, promiscuity, drugs which will be unstoppable again [in Indonesia],' he said.
One of Indonesia's leading newspapers, The Jakarta Post, condemned the targeting of the LGBTI community for political gain in a scathing editorial.
'We appear to be witnessing the emergence of "Trumpism", where spinning hate is becoming the new norm in Indonesian politics. What a sorry state of affairs,' the editorial read.
Shannon Power Indonesia's Education Ministry canceled an event created to give advice to people on how to 'save' children from the LGBTI community.
The 'Save Indonesian Families and Children From the LGBT Movement' is planned for today (25 April) at the Education Ministry's offices.
The Dharma Women's Union (DWP) is an organization whose members the wives of government officials and had organized the event. Education Minister Muhadjir Effendy was scheduled to speak at the event but it was unexpectedly cancelled.
LGBT advocates criticized the event but the Ministry did not explain the reason behind the cancellation.
But in a development earlier today, it appears the the event is actually going ahead but has a new name. The event was renamed 'Save Indonesian Families and Children in the Millenial Era'.
The event which is happening as this story goes to publication, with sources at the event telling Gay Star News the anti-LGBTI rhetoric is going ahead despite renaming the event.
Attendees at the event are saying the main message of the event is how to 'prevent the family from unhealthy sexual orientation'.
Since the beginning of 2016 Indonesia has increased its persecution and discrimination of the LGBTI community. Many officials and authorities have led the campaign against LGBTI people.
The chair of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Zulkifli Hasan said LGBT are running 'rampant' and 'damaging' Indonesia.
A Bill to criminalize homosexuality has been delayed until July, buying LGBTI advocates more time to try and convince lawmakers to vote against it.
Shannon Power Indonesia's plans to criminalize homosexuality have been put on hold giving the country's LGBTI community a much needed respite.
Indonesia's House of Representatives is currently debating proposed amendments to the criminal code (KUHP). Some of those amendments include criminalizing same-sex relations and premarital sex, and broadening the definition of adultery.
The Bill was initially tabled for debate in February. It was delayed then because politicians wanted more time to hash out controversial parts of the Bill. Those controversial components did not include criminalizing homosexuality. But now the debate will resume again in another two to three months.
'We are giving more time in the next two or three months for the public to provide feedback on the bill to us,' said Teuku Taufiqulhadi, a legislator from the National Democratic Party, told the Bangkok Post. Indonesia used to be more tolerant
Indonesia's LGBTI community has faced unprecedented levels of persecution and violence since January 2016. The rise in persecution comes as conservative Islamic groups gain more influence in the country.
Police have arrested hundreds of men at 'gay parties', trans women are rounded up and are forced to 'act like men' and vigilantes have raided the homes of suspected LGBTI people across the country.
Last year, images of the caning of two men convicted of homosexuality in Aceh shocked the world. It also unveiled the crackdown the community is facing.
Plans to criminalize homosexuality in the once tolerant Indonesia were an unexpected escalation of the crackdown. Leaders across the Southeast Asian region have pleaded with Indonesia not to criminalize homosexuality.
'These amendments are a blatant violation of all Indonesians' right to privacy and their fundamental liberties,' said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) board member and Filipino MP Teddy Baguilat in February.
'It is extremely worrying that private affairs between two consenting, law-abiding adults could very soon be opened to government interference and scrutiny.'
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta Education and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy may attend on Wednesday an event advocating against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
A poster circulating on social media named Muhadjir as the main speaker at a discussion titled "Save Indonesian Families and Children From the LGBT Movement", held by the Dharma Women's Union (DWP), an organization led by the wives of government officials.
Other speakers at the event include Euis Sunarti, a Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) professor who had previously petitioned the Constitutional Court (MK) to criminalize homosexual relationships, and Dewi Inong Irana, a doctor who has been outspoken about her belief that LGBT behavior spreads HIV/AIDS.
On Dec. 14 last year, the Constitutional Court rejected Euis' petition.
Education Ministry spokesperson Seno Hartono confirmed that the minister had been invited to the event but added that his attendance was still uncertain. "The minister is still in Papua, so he may not attend the event," he told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
He said the talk had been organized by DWP and was not an Education Ministry event. "The minister was only invited to speak," he said.
When asked what the minister would talk about if he attended, Seno said only: "It hasn't been decided yet." (evi)
Jasmine Andersson Indonesia's LGBT+ community has been granted a temporary reprieve by the government as a bill to criminalise homosexuality has been put on hold.
The bill, which was initially tabled for legalisation in February, will be put on hold for another "two to three months" so that the general public can offer its feedback on the legislation, said National Democratic Party legislator Teuku Taufiqulhadi.
"We are giving more time in the next two or three months for the public to provide feedback on the bill to us," Taufiqulhadi told The Bangkok Post.
However, it appears that deeper issues with the bill are at hand. After the initial draft of the bill was released earlier this year, a national outcry over more controversial articles in the bill led to the legislation being put on hold.
Constitution III, which is responsible for ratifying the legislation, still has to approve several elements of the bill before it can be made legal.
With this in mind, it appears that the delay will only grant a temporary reprieve to the LGBT+ community, especially as the bill has garnered support from all 10 of the major political parties in the country.
Beh Lih Yi, Kuala Lumpur Indonesia is moving towards a ban on child marriage, officials said on Tuesday after a photo of a teenage couple who tried to tie the knot went viral on social media.
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, is among 10 countries with the highest number of girls marrying before they turn 18, according to campaign group Girls Not Brides.
A photo of a 15-year-old boy and a girl, 14, trying to register their marriage on the island of Sulawesi has been shared widely online since last week, sparking renewed pressure on the government to end such underage unions.
President Joko Widodo has agreed to sign a decree that would ban child marriage, a spokeswoman at the Women Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
No other details were available immediately, but the spokeswoman said public dialogues on the matter would be held.
The ministry has been pressing the government to raise the minimum age for marriage to 20 for girls, and 22 for boys.
Under Indonesian laws, girls can marry at the age of 16, and 19 for boys if parents give their consent. Girls can be married at an even younger age if religious courts agree. Women's rights campaigners said a ban is long overdue.
"Child marriage is a form of sexual violence," said Ninik Rahayu, one of the female Islamic clerics who jointly issued an unprecedented fatwa against child marriage last year.
A fatwa, or religious edict, is influential among Muslims although it is not legally binding. "Child marriage has reached an emergency level in Indonesia. If we don't take action quick enough, it will destroy the future of our children," Rahayu told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Andreas Harsono from campaign group Human Rights Watch said the Indonesian government's pledge is "bold" but action must be taken without delay.
Campaigners say poverty and tradition continue to drive underage marriage in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago in Southeast Asia with a population of 250 million people.
One in four girls marry before they turn 18 in Indonesia, according to the United Nations' children agency, UNICEF. On average over 3,500 Indonesian girls are married off every day.
Globally, 12 million girls become child brides each year, the Girls Not Brides group says, exposing them to greater risks of exploitation, sexual violence, domestic abuse and death in childbirth. (Reporting by Beh Lih Yi @behlihyi, Editing by Jared Ferrie;
Andreas Harsono When celebrating R.A. Kartini, a Javanese feminist (1879-1904) who wrote about women's rights in the early 20th century, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo invited a number of women rights' defenders in Jakarta to talk about women's empowerment.
Naila Rizqi Zakiah of the Community Legal Aid Institute, took the opportunity to ask Jokowi to end child marriage in Indonesia. Zakiah made a reference to a recent viral social media discussion about a 14-year-old Indonesian girl who had wanted to register her marriage to her 15-year-old boyfriend.
Jokowi told Zakiah that he was committed to ending child marriage. He said two ministries, the Coordinating Ministry for Human Development and Cultural Affairs and the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection, are now preparing a presidential decree to amend the 1974 Marriage Law.
It was a bold statement in a country in which child marriage is widespread. According to UNICEF, 14 percent of girls in Indonesia are married before age 18, and one percent marry before age 15. The 1974 Marriage Law permits women and men to marry at 21 but allows girls to marry at 16 and men to marry at 19 with parental permission. Parents can also ask religious courts or local officials to authorize marriages of girls even earlier, with no minimum age in such cases. UNICEF reported that more than 90 percent of these exemption requests are accepted.
Globally, there is overwhelming evidence child marriage has devastating consequences. Married children often leave school, sinking them into poverty. Married girls often have early and closely spaced pregnancies, which carries serious health risks, including death for both the girls and their babies. They are also more likely to experience domestic violence.
In June 2015, Indonesia's Constitutional Court rejected a petition to end child marriage by an 8-to-1 vote. It was a setback, but the ruling also energized many to push for the end of child marriage. Yohana Yembise, the Minister of Women's Empowerment and Child Protection, frequently spoke out against the court's ruling. She also urged the parliament to amend the Marriage Law.
Indonesia is a party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has obligations to end child marriage. Jokowi should follow through on his commitment without delay.
Activists in Indonesia have been pushing the government for years to close a religion-based legal loophole that has allowed underage kids to be married, leading to what some officials have described as "emergency" levels of child marriage in the country.
A recent viral news story involving a 15-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl who were given permission by their local religious court to be wed highlighted the severity of the issue, leading the national government to intervene to stop their marriage.
The case also seems to have provided the impetus for President Joko Widodo to finally deliver a legal solution to the country's child marriage crisis, with Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA) Yohana Yembise saying that he has approved the issuance of a Perppu (Government Regulation in Lieu of Law) on the prevention of child marriage.
"It has been discussed and the president has agreed," Yohana said at the Bogor Palace Complex on Saturday as quoted by Detik, saying Jokowi had reached the decision after discussing the matter with numerous activists and NGOs on Friday.
The current legal age of marriage in Indonesia is 19 years old for men and 16 years old for women. However, the country's 1974 Law on Marriage also includes a major loophole to this requirement which allows marriages to still be considered legal if they are done "in accordance" with religious belief.
As such, underage marriages that have been sanctified by religious courts or officials must still be officially recognized by the government.
Although the exact language of the Perppu has not been finalized, it is expected to essentially replace the 1974 Law on Marriage and increase the legal age of marriage to 20 years old for women.
While women's rights activists who have campaigned long and hard against child marriage have hailed the government's move as a momentous step forward, it is not sitting well with some religious authorities, particularly the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the country's highest Islamic clerical body.
MUI officials have argued that the 1974 Marriage Law is based in the first tenet of Pancasila (Indonesia's state ideology) which upholds the supremacy of religion and that it was still very important to followers of Islam.
"The minister of PPPA should consider the religious aspect of the plan, because the legitimacy of a marriage must also be based on religious values," MUI Deputy Chairman Zainut Tauhid Sa'adi said on Sunday as quoted by Jawa Pos.
Zainut said that MUI could not accept the Perppu as discussed and that the government should consult with religious authorities (particularly MUI officials) before issuing it.
PPPA Minister Yohanna said that the government would discuss the Perppu further this week with various groups, including religious organizations.
But she noted that there was already a huge body of scientific evidence showing that child marriage has numerous negative outcomes, especially for young women, and was holding back the country's overall development.
In April of last year, Indonesian female Muslim clerics issued an unprecedented fatwa (edict) declaring child marriage to be harmful as it is a large contributor to Indonesia's high maternal mortality rate.
Furthermore, they cited studies that many Indonesian child brides could not continue their studies once wed and half their marriages ended in divorce in addition to child marriage increasing the risks of exploitation, sexual violence, and domestic abuse.
Even so, stories about children (some as young as 14) getting married continued to take place and go viral on social media since then.
Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Deputy Minister Lenny Rosalin said that child marriage in Indonesia is at "emergency levels" as, based on UNICEF data, Indonesia ranks seventh in the world and the second highest in Southeast Asia in terms of the overall percentage of marriages in which at least one of the spouses is under 18 years old. According to government census data, 17% of all Indonesian girls married in 2016 were under 18.
Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) found a new suspected fund flow in the electronic ID card or e-KTP graft case.
KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah explained the new information was revealed during the probe on Irvanto Pambudi Chayo, a nephew of Setya Novanto, who was named as the suspect last March.
Since last Thursday, KPK investigator has continuously questioned two Golkar Party officials for Central Java, the chairman M. Iqbal, and the former treasurer Bambang Eko Suratmoko.
"We currently cross-examine and seek to clarify [their testimony] whether there are another payment or usage of the corruption money for any activities or others," Febri stated.
However, Febri reluctant to provide detail of the fund flow. "Because the investigation is still underway, we cannot reveal the detail," he said.
As of date, the Jakarta Corruption Court has sentenced four suspects of the e-KTP graft scandal namely two former officials of Home Affairs Ministry Irman and Sugiharto; a businessman Andi Agustinus alias Andi Narogong; and the House of Representatives (DPR) former speaker Setya Novanto who had made state loss up to Rp2.3 billion.
During the trial, four suspects revealed the money flow stemming from the Rp5.84 billion e-KTP project to various parties including from bureaucrats, executives, and legislatures.
A suspect Anang Sugiana Sudihardjo, former president director of PT Quadra Solution will soon be charged in the trial. While three other suspects, former director of PT Gunung Agung Made Oka Masagung; DPR's member Markus Nari; and Irvanto are currently being questioned by KPK.
Furthermore, KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo asserted the anti-graft body opens for every possibility that might be exposed as he deemed many parties have involved in the e-KTP graft case.
Maya Ayu Puspitasari, M. Julnis Firmansyah
Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, Jakarta The Chief of Presidential Staff Moeldoko asked the public to stop urging President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) on solving the case of an acid attack against Novel Baswedan. Moeldoko demanded people to head to National Police instead.
According to Moeldoko, President Jokowi has yet formed a Fact Finding Joint Team (TGPF) on Novel's case because the President wanted to give full authority to the police. Jokowi, he added, has asked the government to not intervene any process of law enforcement.
"So if some people feel dissatisfied, throw the pressure to the Police, ask them why they have not solved the case yet. Don't throw the heat to President," said Moeldoko to the reporters Friday, April 27.
Moeldoko appealed the people to give a room for the president to focus on strategic and bigger cases. If the government intervenes the legal process, the law enforcer might not work efficiently, he added.
Moeldoko then denied the saying that the issue was not a priority matter for Jokowi. "In fact, President handed the priority for the authority to work in optimal," he said.
The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan was splashed by acid water in a morning in April last year. At the time, Novel was investigating e-KTP graft case. The perpetrators have not been found yet since then.
Several groups urged President Jokowi to establish TGPF on Novel Baswedan case in a bid to quicken solving the case. The President made a response to wait until the Police give in before conducting further action.
Imam Hamdi, Jakarta The Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) Director Alghifari Aqsa noticed a downturn in the progress of Police's investigation on Novel Baswedan's acid attack after the case was handled by the North Jakarta Police Dept.
"This is strange, it was the Jakarta Metro Police that investigated it, but now it's demoted to the North Jakarta Police Dept. with different investigators compared to the officers who questioned Novel Baswedan in Singapore," said Alghifari yesterday in Jakarta.
Alghifari argued that the investigation on the attack against the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator has not been met with any desirable progress. He then suggested President Jokowi to form a joint team to search for facts regarding the case.
"The police have failed. Because it has been one year but they have yet solved the case," said Alghifari.
According to him, the attack made against Novel Baswedan must be solved since there are allegedly people within the police institution that might use their influence to attack Baswedan. Furthermore, Alghifari hopes that President Jokowi would someday invite Novel Baswedan to explain the case to the president in person.
He claims that Novel Baswedan has met the police twice to talk about the case but to no avail.
Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta Graft watchdog Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) has expressed disapproval over the decision by Jakarta Corruption Court judges to sentence Tuesday graft defendant and former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto to 15 years in prison, arguing the punishment has set a bad precedent for similar cases.
"The court should have imposed a life sentence on Setya for his crime in the e-ID graft case," ICW activist Lalola Easter said in a press statement on Tuesday.
The ICW said the restitution fine that must be paid by Setya was also too low relative to the state losses caused by him.
The court ordered Setya to pay Rp 500 million (US$35,880) in fines and restitution amounting to the $7.3 million he obtained in the case, which the ICW said was only 22.69 percent of the total amount of state losses caused by him.
Setya was declared guilty of rigging the Rp 5.9 trillion e-ID project, which reportedly caused Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.
The ICW said Setya deserved the maximum sentence, as he was uncooperative throughout the legal process and failed to attend several hearings.
"We are worried that this verdict will not create a deterrent effect for him, and even that it will set a bad precedent for other corruption defendants," Lalola added. (ebf)
Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta The Jakarta Corruption Court judges sentenced former House of Representatives speaker Setya Novanto to 15 years in prison on Tuesday.
Reading out the court's verdict, presiding judge Yanto said the former Golkar Party chairman had been declared guilty of rigging the Rp 5.9 trillion (US$424 million) e-ID project, which reportedly caused Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.
The court also ordered him to pay Rp 500 million in fines and restitution amounting to the US$7.3 million he obtained in the case. Both Setya and prosecutors said they would wait a week before announcing whether they would file an appeal.
Prosecutors had previously demanded a 16-year prison sentence and a Rp 1 billion fine for the defendant for his role in the case, which reportedly caused Rp 2.3 trillion in state losses.
The antigraft body also rejected Setya's request for justice collaborator status, as the commission argued that Setya had not provided significant information related to the case.
Prosecutors indicted Setya in the case when he was still Golkar's faction leader at the House.
Setya becomes the fourth defendant to be found guilty in the case after former Home Ministry senior officials Irman and Sugiharto as well as businessman Andi Agustinus or Andi Narogong. (ebf)
Jakarta President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) revealed the reason he accepted members of the 212 Brotherhood group, which is a group notoriously known to constantly throw criticism against the current administration.
The president revealed the reason that drove him to meet the group that was named after a massive rally against former Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama or Ahok on December 2, 2016, during an interview with Tempo on Friday, April 27.
Jokowi claimed the closed meeting was driven on a political agenda, "This is a political friendly-gathering (silaturahmi) to break the ice, so no opinions will say that I'm picky with the people I meet," said the President.
Furthermore, the president said that the 212 group requested it to be a closed meeting, which the president complied to. "That's why I [complied to their request]. If it was an open meeting I would reveal it," said Jokowi.
Member of the 212 Group alumni Ulemas, Usamah Hisyam said that the meeting had been planned since Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab informed them that he would return to Indonesia back in February.
"I conveyed that other than to conduct silaturahmi, we also urged [the government] to stop criminalizing Ulemas," said Usamah.
Many people saw negatively upon that the meeting between President Jokowi and the 212 brotherhood. Several Jokowi supporters argued that it is inappropriate to embrace a group that is clearly against the current administration.
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has rejected the demand made by an Islamist group linked to the 2016 sectarian rally in Jakarta that he drop the pornography case against Islam Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab, the State Palace has said.
The group, calling itself the 212 Rally Alumni, conveyed their demand during a meeting with Jokowi at the Bogor Palace in West Java last week.
Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi said that Jokowi entrusted the law enforcement body with the case and he was certain that the authorities would be professional in handling it.
"The President does not want to intervene in the legal process," Johan told journalists on Friday.
The 212 Alumni comprises Islamic groups as well as activists who participated in a massive rally on Dec. 2, 2016, that called for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy.
They believe that a string of cases against their leaders, including Rizieq, are politically motivated.
Rizieq, who fled to Saudi Arabia, was charged with pornography after a steamy conversation allegedly involving him and a woman was leaked and went viral online. (ahw)
Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta Presiden Joko Widodo (Jokowi) met with the ulema from the Alumni 212 Brotherhood (PA 212), or former 212 protesters, on April 22.
The PA 212 Advisory Board chief Eggi Sudjana said the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab was made aware of the meeting. "Habib Rizieq ordered his team to demand Jokowi's promise," Slamet said at the PA 212 Secretariat, Thursday, April 26.
The promise is related to the criminalization of the ulema and the possibility of Rizieq's return to Indonesia safely.
According to Eggi, Rizieq is a tolerant figure and can communicate well, denying the notion that the FPI leader has a harsh character. He claimed Rizieq, as an ulema, has the rights to give advice to the president.
Eggi said the meeting was held to discuss the national issues. The PA 212 ulema requested the meeting with Jokowi to give advice and feedbacks relating to the recent issues in the country. "We're here to remind [the president] and our relationship is good."
Earlier, photos of the meeting between ulema of PA 212 and President Jokowi circulated. When confirmed, Jokowi said that the meeting was a common thing as to strengthen the relationship between the government and ulema.
Taufiq Siddiq, Jakarta Team 11 Leader of Alumni 212 Misbahul Anam said the meeting between President Jokowi and Alumni 212 Brotherhood only discussed the criminalization of ulemas.
"Team 11 provides more accurate information for President Jokowi," Misbahul said, in Jakarta on Wednesday, April 25.
Team 11 urged the President to immediately stop the criminalization of ulema. "In the past, the President said there would be no criminalization of the cleric, but the facts we found it still occurred," Misbahul said.
The meeting between Jokowi and the Alumni 212 cleric is closed and unpublished. Secretary of Team 11 Alumni 212 Ulama Muhammad Al Khaththath said during the meeting his party was prohibited to bring a mobile phone so that no photos or recordings during the meeting.
Supposedly, said Al Khaththath, the palace kept the meeting to not widespread. "If it is closed, the meeting should not be opened." Because of its condition, Alumni 212 also did not want to publicize the meeting.
The meeting was revealed from a photograph in circulation. It showed Jokowi and a number of clerics were in a mosque. It was later known that the meeting took place on 22 April.
Jokowi also admitted the meeting. He said it was an ordinary meeting to establish a relationship between the umara and ulama. It began with Zuhr prayer in congregation and lunch.
Mishabul regretted the spreading photo of Alumni 212 meeting with President Jokowi. According to him, there is a third party who deliberately spread the photo to pit the sheep of the president with the cleric.
"We ask the President to investigate the leak of the meeting," said Team Leader 11 Alumni 212 Misbahul.
Despite the ridicule he received over the "Fitsa Hats" incident, former secretary general for the Jakarta chapter of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), Habib Novel Bamukmin, has remained one of the most vocal members of the hardline group, becoming a de facto spokesperson who consistently delivered controversial statements publicly.
Surprisingly, Novel's days among the leadership of the FPI has come to an abrupt end as the organization yesterday confirmed rumors that he has been demoted in large part due to his unchecked tendency to speak in public without FPI's approval.
Recently, Erwin Moeslimin, a politician for the PDI-P party (for which President Joko Widodo is a cadre) met with FPI leader Rizieq Shihab in Saudi Arabia, where the latter is taking refuge from the highly ironic pornography charges waiting for him at home.
After the meeting became known among the local media, Novel, who was not present in Saudi, was asked to give it context. Novel said that Rizieq, through Erwin as a messenger for Jokowi and PDI-P, demanded that PDI-P be cleansed of communists within the party's ranks and that they revise anti-Islam policies, among others.
Novel's claims were rebuffed by Erwin himself, who said that his meeting with Rizieq was amicable and did not touch on any of the things Novel suggested.
"As far as I know, Novel Bamukmin has been fired by the FPI. He's not even in contact with Rizieq," Erwin said yesterday, as quoted by Detik.
Following that bombshell, Novel denied that he had been fired and that he is still a member of the FPI. "If I was fired by the FPI, please present proof for it," he said today, as quoted by Detik.
Well, Novel may not have been officially fired, but there is proof that he was demoted from the ranks of the FPI leadership, as confirmed by a high-ranking FPI member today.
"[Novel was demoted] because he constantly made comments without coordination [with the leadership]. Sometimes he made comments even though it hasn't been discussed in the organization, leading to differences in perception. He also took steps that have not been approved by the organization," said Muchsin Alatas, member of the FPI Religious Council, as quoted by Detik.
Muchsin added that Novel is now merely a "sympathizer" of the FPI. "So if he makes a statement in the name of FPI, he doesn't have the competency to do that," he said.
Novel shot to meme stardom in January 2017 when he testified against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in his blasphemy trial. Ahok then pointed out a discrepancy in the official court documents detailing Novel's personal details, in which the latter wrote down that he worked at "Fitsa Hats" presumably out of embarrassment that he worked for US-based restaurant chain Pizza Huts.
Since then, Novel has not shied away from making controversial statements in public. Perhaps one of the most controversial comments he made recently was his criticism of Ma'ruf Amin, chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), for accepting an apology from Sukmawati Soekarnoputri over the recent controversy surrounding her allegedly blasphemous poem.
"If religion is insulted, then it is God's right, we have no right to give forgiveness to Sukmawati because it is not something people can do," Novel said.
As the leader of the infamous Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) who was at the forefront of the 212 protest movement that took down former Jakarta Governor Basuki Ahok Tjahaja Purnama, Rizieq Shihab still manages to hold quite a bit of political clout even from Saudi Arabia (where he has been hiding from the Indonesian police for over a year after being named a suspect in a high-profile pornography case).
As such, the recent news that members of various Islamist hardliner groups associated with FPI and the 212 protest movement had secretly met with President Joko Widodo on Sunday led to some questions about who Rizieq might throw his considerable weight behind in the 2019 presidential election.
The idea that Rizieq and the so-called 212 "alumni" (as they like to be called, in reference to the massive anti-Ahok protest on 2/12/2016) might actually flip their anti-Jokowi script and support the incumbent in the next election still seems very far-fetched. The party of Jokowi's likely 2019 challenger, Prabowo Subianto, seems sure that Rizieq will back the Gerindra chairman and even seems to be lobbying for the support of the controversial figure.
When asked by reporters whether he believed the fugitive FPI leader would back Prabowo, Gerindra communications head Andre Rosiade answered, "Insyaallah, we are optimistic that Muslims and the ulema (Islamic scholars) will support Pak Prabowo," as quoted by Detik yesterday.
The man who beat Ahok in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial race, Anies Baswedan, did so in large part because he courted the support of Rizieq and the 212 hardliners, even speaking in front of the FPI at one infamous meeting. At the same time, he denied he had actively sought the support of the anti-Ahok extremists for political gain.
But evidently Gerindra doesn't see any PR problems with welcoming the support of Rizieq, who has a long history of inciting violence against minorities and has been charged with numerous crimes (besides those infamous and highly ironic pornography charges). He suggested that Prabowo's track record of consulting Islamic scholars would get the FPI leader's support.
"We respect and appreciate the attitude of the 212 Brotherhood, who await the recommendation from Habib Rizieq on which presidential candidate to support in the 2019 election. Of course, PA 212's support is based on the current track record of the candidates to the people and the ulema," Andre said.
With Prabowo's current poll position against the incumbent looking quite poor (even more so in the latest major survey) it seems likely that for him to have any real shot at beating Jokowi after already being defeated by him once in 2014, the Gerindra chairman will try to use a similar strategy that was used to defeat Ahok by getting Rizieq and his 212 alums to smear Jokowi as being somehow anti-Islam.
Such a scenario is still very speculative, considering Prabowo is far from consolidating the political coalitions he would need to make his candidacy official. But Gerindra's open arms towards Rizieq portend a potentially ugly election fight in 2019.
Imam Hamdi, Jakarta Gerindra Party Deputy Chairman Fadli Zon saw the meeting between President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) with the former protesters joined in the Alumni 212 brotherhood as a move that should be appreciated. "I think it was a good thing to do," said Fadli Zon today, April 25.
The meeting was said to take place at a Mosque in Bogor, West Java, not too long ago. The ulema present at the meeting were the Head of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) Shobri Lubis, Muslim Forum (FUI) Secretary General Muhammad Al-Khaththath, and the Indonesian Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Usamah Hisyam.
According to information received by Fadli Zon, the Alumni 212 members asked President Jokowi to fulfill his promise on dropping the alleged criminalization attempt against ulema. However, the details of the meeting remain undisclosed.
"Holding a dialogue is very important, especially if it's done face-to-face where answers are delivered immediately," said Fadli.
Fadli Zon is sure that the ulema from the Alumni 212 will explain the actual intent of the meeting publicly. Furthermore, the Gerindra Party politician avoided to further assume the actual purpose of the meeting.
Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, addressing rumors circulating in the media, confirmed on Wednesday that a meeting between him and members of the self-proclaimed 212 Rally Alumni group took place at the Bogor Palace last Sunday.
Recently, a photo of Jokowi walking in a mosque with several members of 212 Rally Alumni went viral in media reports. The President was wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and a black peci (traditional cap) while the clerics mostly wore white gamis (Muslim gowns).
Jokowi said the meeting was only a silaturahmi (friendly gathering), similar to other meetings with ulema during his visits to Islamic boarding schools and his meetings with clerics who were routinely invited to the Presidential Palace for discussion.
"The purpose is to build cordial relations with ulema, religious figures and clerics from across the country's provinces [...] in order to maintain brotherhood and unity," Jokowi said on Wednesday.
The President said that during the meeting on Sunday, he and the members conducted a midday prayer together and had lunch. The discussion was mainly about issues in society, Jokowi added.
The alumni group comprises Islamic groups and activists that participated in street protests to call for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama for blasphemy in 2016.
The alumni is set to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the meeting with the President. (dmr)
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta, Central Java Dozens of parents and female students in Surakarta, Central Java, have expressed their discontent with a rule that prohibits Muslims from wearing headscarves for the mass gambyong traditional dance performance during the Solo Menari event on April 29.
Around 5,000 dancers will participate in the event held to celebrate World Dance Day.
Werdi Supeni, 45, said her daughter was not allowed to participate in the mass dance performance because her school prohibited students from wearing headscarves during the performance. Other students were prohibited from participating for similar reasons.
"Their names had been listed. They practiced routinely but unfortunately they will not participate. Their teachers said that based on the rule, no participant was allowed to wear headscarves. This is unfair," said Werdi on Thursday.
She was referring to a circular issued by a conference of senior high schools in Surakarta on April 22. The circular stipulated that students participating in the event would not be allowed to don headscarves.
Following the protests, the circular was revised to lift the ban, however some students were too disappointed rejoin the event. (ebf)
Wasi'ul Ulum, Jakarta Hundreds of pro-Jokowi Ulemas and Santri (students of Islam) joined in the Jokowi Militant Santri (Samijo) Banten declared its support for President Jokowi to lead the country for a second term. During the declaration, they also criticized the statement issued by National Awakening Party (PAN) chairman Amien Rais.
Samijo coordinator, Ibnu Baliran Ali said that the group is set to back President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in the 2019 Presidential Election after the group saw that the current administration was pro-Santri. The group's declaration is also a response to the many religious issues that are currently being mixed with domestic political affairs.
"[President Jokowi] is a well-mannered individual. The president bows over and kisses the hands of our teachers," said Ibnu on Friday, April 27.
Ibnu regretted the statement issued by Amien Rais on the country's political parties that Amien claims is separated into two categories, God's party and Satan's party. Furthermore, he said that such cynical comments should not have been said publically since it could potentially cause public unrest.
"This is a clear sign that Amien Rais has used religion as a political propaganda tool," Ibnu asserted.
Ibnu also stated the elements that he considers to be a pro-Islam movement that exists under the Jokowi administration, such as the naming of October 22 as the national Santri Day.
"It isn't true when Jokowi gets accused of being distant from Ulemas or hates the Muslim community when he spares time to meet Ulemas and Santris," Ibnu added.
Caesar Akbar, Jakarta The General Elections Commission (KPU) stated a political discussion in the worship place is allowed so long the topic is not related to either general or regional election.
"Talking about politics is permissible, but that of the campaign is prohibited. If the topic is included in the definition of the campaign, then it is forbidden," said KPU member Wahyu Setiawan in his office, Friday, April 27.
Wahyu explained politics and political campaign are different subjects. Politics, he said, has a broad meaning and that not only about the election, but also commodity price and eradication of narcotics.
"As for the campaign, based on the law, it is forbidden to be discussed in the worship place," said Wahyu.
Referred to the Law No. 7/2017, the campaign is a series of actions related to the election conducted by the participant or other party chosen by the participant to assure the voter by promoting the vision, mission, program, and or the image of the participant.
KPU reminded that the campaign period has yet begun and so that the political party is only allowed to socialize their concern within the internal circle and display their flag.
The debate on the issue of politicization in the worship place was emerged following the chairman of the Board of Trustees at the National Mandate Party (PAN) Amien Rais' statement last Tuesday in Jakarta City Hall, noting that political subject should be included in religious activity or teaching.
M Julnis Firmansyah, Jakarta Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Mardani Ali Sera contradicted the Mosque anti-politicization movement supported by pro Joko Widodo (Jokowi) volunteers by stating that Mosques were always the center of civilization for economic, social, and political affairs in the Islamic Prophet's era.
However, Mardani does not agree with using Mosques as a venue for political campaigns; "However, I agree that low-level politics such as campaigns must be avoided," said Mardani yesterday in a phone interview with Tempo.
Mardani argued that several political matters that are allowed to be discussed in Mosques include sermons that is oriented to side with the Dhuafa (poor) and is against tyranny.
Secondly, he agrees that sermons commenting on President Jokowi's leadership can be discussed in Mosques although it must be fair and refers to credible data that would lead the sermon into a healthy and positive discourse.
"Don't ever think that Mosque congregations are dumb, because that is that what is being disassociated from politics," Mardani explained.
The anti-politicization of Mosques movement was formed after the heated 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election. The movement then garnered support from the national movement of Joko Widodo (Jokowi) volunteers.
Moses Ompusunggu, Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration has rejected claims that it opposes the indigenous peoples bill initiated by the House of Representatives.
The government fully supported the bill but would first review parts that could trigger conflict with existing regulations on indigenous people, a Home Ministry official told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
"The claim that we reject the bill is wrong," said the Home Ministry's legal bureau head, Widodo Sigit Pudjianto.
Indigenous people activists were upset in mid-April after the government appeared to be of the opinion that there was no urgency for Indonesia to have a special law on indigenous people. They learned it through a document leaked to the media.
The document was a letter sent by Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo to State Secretary Pratikno on April 11 suggesting the bill officially called the Acknowledgement and Protection of Customary Communities Bill was not a necessity for Indonesia's indigenous people.
In the letter, Tjahjo argued that the bill could likely ignite new conflicts, rejuvenate local faiths that had yet to be regulated by the state and create a financial burden for Jakarta.
The Alliance of Indigenous Peoples (AMAN), a prominent NGO focusing on indigenous people and human rights, was quick to censure the decision as a failure of Jokowi to fulfill his 2014 campaign promise to improve the livelihoods of indigenous people in the country.
"The logic used by Tjahjo Kumolo in his letter was a serious fallacy," said AMAN secretary-general Rukka Sombolinggi. She admitted the country did have numerous regulations on indigenous people but said these had failed to protect dozens of millions of indigenous people in exercising their rights and were the primary cause of "neglect and abuse" against them.
Jokowi, who promised during his 2014 campaign trail to improve the livelihoods of Indonesian indigenous people, has appointed the Home Ministry as a coordinator of the government's team that would deliberate the bill with the House.
"We cannot refuse to carry out the President's order," said Widodo. "We have to check some claims first, including the scale of violations against indigenous people."
In a national inquiry published in March 2016, the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) reported that the number of land conflicts involving indigenous people had surged from 1,213 in 2012 to 2,483 in 2014.
The talk of Jakarta today is a viral video, taken during yesterday's Car Free Day (CFD) event, that shows several instances of people belonging to the #2019GantiPresiden (Change the President in 2019) movement to defeat President Joko Widodo in next year's election bullying and intimidating supporters of Jokowi who were wearing #DiaSibukKerja (He is Busy Working) shirts.
The clips of the #2019GantiPresiden crowd harassing Jokowi supporters, particularly a woman seen in the video consoling a child brought to tears by their intimidation, have been deplored by many as an example of how ugly and divisive Indonesian politics have gotten and how much worse they might get ahead of the 2019 election.
But one person who isn't ready to condemn the #2019GantiPresiden crowd for their actions is Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno, who said he had submitted the viral video to the government's Jakarta Smart City for analysis to verify that it was not a hoax that had been deceptively edited in some way.
"So now there is technology to make video hoaxes. So I again ask that Smart City makes sure first. The video that went viral is not the only one we've seen. There are some videos. So again I send to the Smart City team to make sure that they are legitimate," Sandiaga said as quoted by Detik.
Anybody that has watched the viral video and understands anything about how video editing actually works would realize that what Sandiaga said is, quite frankly, ridiculous. While of course there is video editing technology that can be used to make realistic looking hoaxes, to somehow fake the incidents seen in this particular video would require millions of dollars worth of incredibly sophisticated CGI (rendered in a few short hours).
Let's be generous and assume Sandiaga wasn't talking about that kind of editing the only other way that such clips could be faked would be to hire an army of extremely convincing actors to go out to CFD and work together in perfect coordination among the regular crowd to create the scenes captured in the video. Hopefully we don't have to explain what a ridiculously unrealistic conspiracy theory would be required to make that happen.
So why would the vice governor make up such a lame excuse to not condemn the #2019GantiPresiden supporters shown in the video? Because they're on the same side, of course.
Sandiaga, alongside Governor Anies Baswedan, defeated the incumbent (and former right-hand man to Jokowi) Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in the highly divisive 2017 gubernatorial race following a campaign season filled with nasty religious and racially-tinged attacks on Ahok and his supporters.
The vice governor also happens to be on the campaign and vice presidential selection committee for Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto, the man most likely to challenge Jokowi in the 2019 election. He has talked up his boss, Anies Baswedan, as being an ideal candidate for the VP position (which would just happen to make him Governor of Jakarta, should the theoretical Prabowo-Anies ticket win).
Others aren't waiting for the events seen in the viral video to be "verified". One of the men seen being harassed in the video has already officially filed a report with police over the incident and pro-Jokowi groups such as the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) have said they would help other victims report their harassment to authorities.
Jakarta The Jakarta administration should maintain impartiality and fairly evaluate the use of public space for political activities, observers said on Monday, following a case of alleged intimidation against supporters of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo during the Car Free Day event.
On Sunday, a group of campaigners wearing T-shirts reading #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangethePresident) reportedly intimidated others wearing T-shirts displaying the hashtag #DiaSibukKerja (#HeIsBusyWorking).
Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno was quick in his response to the incident, saying the administration was considering deploying security personnel to make sure there were no political activities during the weekly Car-Free-Day event.
Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama issued a gubernatorial regulation restricting political activities in Car-Free Day zones.
"Government officials should not become partisan and should stand on the people's side. City Hall should [also] be neutral," Hendri Satrio, a political observer from Jakarta-based Paramadina University, said on Monday.
Hendri was referring to two politics-related activities that took place at City Hall. The first one was a celebration of the Prosperous Justice Party's (PKS) 20th anniversary on April 15, the second was a speech by National Mandate Party (PAN) patron Amien Rais that appears to have been facilitated by City Hall.
The PKS is a party that backed the winning pair in Jakarta's gubernatorial election last year, while Amien Rais is widely known as an outspoken critic of Jokowi.
Amien was a speaker at an event of female Muslim clerics at City Hall last week. Amien reportedly discouraged the women from participating at events supporting Jokowi in the upcoming presidential election.
Setara Institute chairman Hendardi said the administration should fairly evaluate the use of public space for political activities. (fac)
Jakarta Following a viral video reportedly showing people being intimidated for their political views during Car Free Day in Central Jakarta on Sunday, the Jakarta administration is mulling over deploying security personnel to safeguard the weekly activity and ensure it is politics-free.
"We'll communicate with the police to place security personnel. Members of the public should also get involved to remind [other people]," Deputy Jakarta Governor Sandiaga Uno said on Monday as quoted by tribunnews.com.
He said the move was aimed to uphold a prevailing regulation that prohibited any politically motivated activities during the weekly event.
Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama issued a gubernatorial regulation that restricted political activities in Car Free Day zones.
In a video widely circulated online, people wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the text #DiaSibukKerja (#HeIsBusyWorking), as a show of support for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who will seek reelection next year, were reportedly intimidated during what was supposed to be a politics-free event at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta on Sunday.
The suspected intimidators, who reportedly wore T-shirts with #2019GantiPresident (#2019ChangethePresident) printed on them, were seen mocking the Jokowi supporters, accusing them of having been paid to wear the shirts.
Among the alleged victims was a crying child, whose mother stood up to the suspected intimidators. Police have opened an investigation into the case. (fac)
Jakarta The newly issued Gubernatorial Decree No. 5/2018 on the procedures for appointing and dismissing directors of city-owned firms (BUMD) and joint-venture companies has given Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan the power to directly appoint and dismiss directors of firms, who come from non-civil servant circles.
It replaces Gubernatorial Decree No. 180/2015 on the management of BUMD, which stipulated that potential directors of firms from non-civil servants backgrounds be recommended by independent experts and be required to pass fit and proper tests.
When asked about the new regulation, Anies made assurances on Friday that the directors would definitely go through a selection process first.
"The most important thing in selecting the directors is to still follow the right selection process," The governor, inaugurated in October last year, said as quoted by kompas.com. "We will manage the BUMD professionally and apply good governance principles," he added.
Separately, the Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) warned about the increasing tendency toward nepotism within the city administration, with the latest case being the appointment of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) deputy chairman Sarman Simanjorang, who is a friend of Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno, as president commissioner of beer firm PT Delta Djakarta. Jakarta currently hold a 26.52 percent share in the company.
"This is an indication of the return of old practices in state politics in which friends are favored to hold offices in bureaucracies or city-owned enterprises," said Jakarta PSI chairman Michael Victor Sianipar in a statement.
Victor urged Jakartans to "keep watching the maneuvers of [Jakarta's] leaders" even more, as Anies now had the right to reshuffle city officials. (vny)
Jakarta Thousands of app-based ojek (motorcycle taxi) drivers from Jakarta and other regions staged a protest in front of the legislative complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta to demand better employment packages on Monday.
The drivers previously rallied in front of Merdeka Palace last month, demanding that the government step in to issue a regulation that would increase their per kilometer rate from incoming fares.
"We just want a decent income and legal standing," Wahyu, 44, a Grab motorcycle driver from Cirebon, West Java, told The Jakarta Post.
Wahyu said drivers demanded that the House pass legislation that regulated app-based ojek operators' partnerships with the drivers.
Wahyu was among ojek drivers from outside Greater Jakarta participating in the rally, which was organized by the Gabungan Aksi Roda Dua Indonesia group.
He said drivers' complaints usually fell on deaf ears. "We want a horizontal [equal] relationship with our app operators, unlike the current system, which is very unequal," Wahyu said.
Jakarta Police have diverted traffic on Jl. Gatot Subroto in front of the legislative complex, however the busway lane remains open for Transjakarta buses. (ami)
Vela Andapita, Apriadi Gunawan and Gisela Swaragita, Jakarta/Medan Indonesia has seen growth in Islamic convenience stores that tap into Muslim consumers' wish to buy halal products and their dream of the glories of a "Muslim economy".
Nunukan resident Fahira Putri, 22, said she preferred buying personal items at Islamic convenience stores, or minimarkets, because she could be sure the items were halal. The area where she lives in Nunukan, North Kalimantan, is home to several Islamic minimarkets
Fahira, who wears a niqab, said she was happy to find easy alternatives to shopping at conventional stores for Muslim customers like herself. "I feel relief [knowing] that the items I bought are alcohol free," she told The Jakarta Post recently.
Such stores operating under Islamic economic principles are not new to the country. However, growing Muslim conservatism and identity politics have seen a renewed surge to these businesses.
Some of the stores even use "212" in their branding, as in 212 Mart, in reference to the Dec. 2 protests in 2016, when hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Jakarta. The protesters had demanded the dismissal of then Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, a Chinese-Indonesian of the Christian faith who was later convicted for blasphemy against Islam.
The diverse groups of these "Defend Islam" rallies, from conservative Muslims to hardliners, later branched out into various economic and political movements that they dubbed the "Spirit of 212". One of these economic movements was Sharia Cooperative 212, under which the 212 Mart brand was established.
The Sharia Cooperative 212 boasts prominent Muslim figures in its all-male board, including the Nahdlatul Ulama's Ma'ruf Amin, celebrity preachers Arifin Ilham and Abdullah Gymnastiar and economist Ichsanuddin Noorsy.
Aside from 212 Mart, Sodaqo Mart is also a relatively popular brand. Such stores are popping up in small towns and big cities alike, growing primarily in middle-class communities.
Unlike regular stores, Islamic stores usually do not sell cigarettes, condoms or products containing alcohol, including cosmetics. Their employees also take breaks for the daily prayers, closing the stores when they do.
Most of these Islamic stores still sell regular products from secular brands or from producers that are owned, partially or fully, by non-Muslims or Chinese-Indonesians.
It sells instant noodles from publicly listed Indofood Sukses Makmur and toiletries from publicly listed PT Unilever Indonesia, a British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company. Chinese-Indonesian Sudono Salim, also known as Liem Sioe Liong, founded Indofood and the company's current CEO is his son, Anthoni Salim.
However, the stores have a vision to build Muslim-only trade networks and are trying to accommodate small Muslim-owned businesses. The website of Sharia Cooperative 212 stated that one of their goals was to close the gap between the small number of Muslim-owned national productive assets and the 87 percent majority Muslim population.
The website also provides a directory of Muslim businesspeople and encourage them to support each other. Up to Apr. 24, the directory listed about two dozen entrepreneurs providing goods and services, from sterile underwear to homeschooling.
Fahira said that she opted for Islamic brands whenever possible, such as purchasing Wardah cosmetics over those with a secular image.
She believed that in buying goods at Islamic stores and consuming products from Muslim producers, she would contribute to the development of the Islamic economy. Fahira also intends to contribute more directly by starting her own business.
"I have a dream of starting my own Islamic business. I want to start a sharia cafe," she said. In her dream cafe, instead of music, she would play the recorded sermons of her favorite preachers.
Thousands of kilometers from Nunukan in Sumatra, 212 Mart head Sehrin Hamonangan Damanik has observed an increasing demand in Islamic outlets.
Sehrin operates the store in Medan, North Sumatra, and aims to open 25 new stores this year, in addition to the five 212 Mart outlets currently in Medan.
"People respond [to the business] well here, so we have a pretty good target market. We want to expand so that there is at least one store in each district," he said.
Sharia Cooperative 212's partner, PT Berkah Anak Negeri, ran all 212 Mart stores in Medan, said Sehrin. Outside of Medan, 212 Mart has opened in several regencies in North Sumatra.
More people were motivated to join the 212 Mart businesses, Sehrin claimed, because of its sharia profit-sharing scheme. "Every Muslim can gain ownership in 212 Mart by buying 20 shares, which are Rp 100,000 [US$7.30] per share," he said. "Alhamdulillah, one 212 Mart in Medan can earn up to Rp 9 million per day."
"We're not afraid of competition [from mainstream convenience stores]. Our customers are Muslims and our goal is to improve the Islamic economy," said Sehrin.
Islamic economy expert Adiwarman Karim said Islamic stores had the capability and potential to compete with established stores such as Alfamart and Indomaret, even though they played in a different league.
"It's cheaper and easier to open Islamic stores," said Adiwarman. "The more people put their money into the business, the more sense of ownership they will have, as well as the desire to shop at such stores," he said.
The promising business concept and market, however, could see a backlash if their operators failed to maintain their focus on improving the Islamic economy, Adiwarman added. "Don't allow political interests to piggyback [Islamic convenience stores]," he said.
Gadjah Mada University sociologist Arie Sujito said that the rise of Islamic convenience stores was indeed connected to political motives, especially with those of 212 groups.
"Some people want to keep the  spirit alive through economic symbols," he told the Post. "It's anyone's right to start any kind of business, but don't let it trigger political sentiments that could potentially divide the people ahead of the 2019 presidential election," said Arie.
Even though he considered such minimarkets as a new form of religious movement, Arie believed that many people still cared to preserve the nation's heterogeneity. He called on moderate Muslims, interfaith figures and rights activists to raise their voices in keeping the country united.
"We can't counter the [Islamic] stores with other faith-based minimarts. We should instead embrace them, while at the same time ensuring that we're not being lured to embrace certain political views through their existence," Arie said.
Chitra Paramaesti, Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo reluctant to provide a statement regarding the leaked conversation between the State-owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Rini Soemarno and the state-owned electricity company PLN director Sofyan Basri which recently circulated on social media.
"I did not like to give a comment until everything is clear," said the president in Grand Sahid Hotel, Jakarta, today.
The Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan conveyed the same concern. He claimed to have yet aware of the recording. "I don't know, I haven't listened to it yet," he said.
The recording was uploaded to a social media account on Instagram under named @jokerpolitik last Friday, April 27. In its caption noted, "Finally the plot reveals."
Meanwhile, Minister Rini asserted she will consider reporting the uploader. "We'll see later, just wait," she said.
The SOE Ministry's Secretary Imam Apriyanto Putro confirmed the conversation of Minister Rini and PLN director. However, he deemed the circulating recording was edited and cut.
Imam recalled the conversation took place last year and the project on energy supply brought up in the recording was not actualized considering it would not bring an optimal benefit for both the state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina and PLN.
According to Imam, the two discussed the investment plan for energy supply projects involving PLN and Pertamina. In full, said Imam, in the conversation, Sofyan Basir wants to ensure that PLN gets a significant share of the shares in the project.
"We reiterate that the whole discussion is in line with the duty of the SOE Minister to ensure that all SOEs are run on the basis of Good Corporate Governance (GCG)," said Imam in Solo, in a written statement on Saturday 28 April 2018.
Imam further said the SOE ministry will take a legal measure against the spreading and editing conversation, arguing that would mislead the public towards the minister.
Jakarta State-owned electricity company PLN is gradually reducing the use of diesel-fueled power plants (PLTD) to improve efficiency.
According to PLN's electricity procurement business plan (RUPTL) for the 2018-2027 period, the contribution of oil-fueled power plants is expected to fall to just 0.4 percent of the total electricity production by the end of 2027.
Meanwhile, coal-fired power plants (PLTU) are projected to contribute the lion's share of 54.4 percent, followed by renewable energy (23 percent) and gas (22.2 percent).
"We will slash the basic cost of production by reducing the use of PLTD, which are replaced by plants that use other sources of energy," said PLN corporate communication head I Made Suprateka in Jakarta on Friday, as reported by kontan.co.id.
He added that such a move was important given the volatility of global oil prices.
In the future, PLTD would only be used in border regions and remote areas that could not be served by PLN's main electricity networks, said Made.
He said such a move would significantly reduce production costs of the company, because the distribution of oil to remote areas such as some regions in Papua was very expensive.
PLN predicts it will use around 3 million kiloliters of oil fuels this year, while in 2022, it is projected to be only 500,000 kl.
Currently, PLN cooperates with a number of PLTD providers. Among PLN's partners are PT Sumberdaya Sewatama, PT Aggreko Energy Services Indonesia and PT Kaltimex Energy. (bbn)
James Massola & Karuni Rompies, Jakarta The Indonesian government has hit back at suggestions that tough new environmental regulations imposed on the giant Grasberg copper mine are politically motivated, or related to the partial-nationalisation of the mine.
The Grasberg mine is the world's second-largest copper mine and is located in the highlands of the restive Indonesian province of Papua. It is 90.64 per cent owned by US miner Freeport McMoran, while Rio Tinto also holds a stake.
The Indonesian government has asked Freeport to reduce the volume of "tailings", the waste byproduct from the mining operation, disposed of in nearby rivers from 50 per cent to five per cent. The rest of the tailings are disposed of on land.
That request has drawn an angry response from Freeport, which is negotiating with Indonesia to sell down part of its stake so the government would control at least 51 per cent of the mine.
But the Inspector-General at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ilyas As'ad, on Wednesday fired back at criticism from Freeport chief executive Richard Adkerson over the new rules.
Mr Ilyas explicitly dismissed suggestions the new edict was politically motivated or designed to force Freeport's hand during the divestment negotiations. "We are only talking about environmental issues," Mr Ilyas told journalists on Wednesday, "it's completely about the environment".
Mr Ilyas, one of the most senior officials in the Environment Department, said the government planned "intense discussions" with Freeport over the next six months to resolve the problem. Meetings are planned with the company about every two weeks to resolve the matter.
"We have to find out what technology [can] handle it [the tailings], we have to seek the way out, we won't sacrifice everything, right, because 16,000 people are working out there," he said.
Earlier, Mr Adkerson had told journalists that a deal had been struck 20 years ago with the Indonesian government on how and where to dispose of the tailings and that change, given the mountainous terrain, was simply unachievable.
"I'm concerned that behind it was political motivations," he said, according to the Wall Street Journal. Freeport's share price has tumbled on news of the proposed change to tailings disposal.
"It cannot be done within six months, 24 months, five years. This is so far out of bounds it cannot be done and as I said it is addressing a problem that doesn't exist," Mr Adkerson said.
Mr Ilyas said the government did not want all operations to halt at the mine but that "some operations did not have permits yet. We want them to process the permit. So [the order to] stop operations is only related to activities that do not have permit yet".
He said the legal division of his Department had found 47 violations of environmental regulations during a visit to the site in September 2017. Thirty-nine had subsequently been fixed but "the big ones left are mostly related to tailings".
The ministry's view, put by officials a meeting with journalists in Jakarta, is that Freeport's Indonesia office was notified some time ago that stricter regulations about how and where the tailings were to be disposed of were imminent.
The Grasberg mine creates produces 10,000 tonnes of tailings per hour, half of which is disposed of in rivers, according to the Department.
Back in March Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo ordered his Energy Minister Ignasius Jonan to conclude long-drawn out negotiations over Indonesia taking a majority stake in the mine, through a state-owned company, by the end of April.
Mining giant Rio Tinto has the right to 40 per of copper produced by the mine above a certain quota until 2021, and after 2021 it is due to receive 40 per cent of all production.
Rio has been negotiating with Indonesia to sell its stake in Grasberg, which would go some way towards Indonesia realising its desire to hold a majority stake in the mine.
John McBeth, Jakarta When the history books are written, there is little question President Joko Widodo will have earned his legacy as the "Infrastructure President," such has been his single-minded focus on a sector that has long been a brake on Indonesia's economic development.
In Jakarta alone, mass rail (MRT) and light rail (LRT) systems, elevated busways, underpasses and overpasses and newly-dredged waterways may have turned the capital into a traffic-choked construction site, but they are transforming its landscape forever.
Widodo will and should get the credit. But for all the progress being made in land links and communications, it is the power sector where his ambitions have short-circuited. With economic growth below expectations that ultimately may not be such a bad thing.
Adding 35,000 megawatts (MW) to the nation's 53,000MW generating capacity in the space of five years, in retrospect, was probably never going to happen. In fact, so far only 1,357MW has been commissioned, with another 17,086MW reportedly under construction.
Even that figure, which includes 11,439MW of private power, appears to be inflated by projects where the developers have only signed power purchase agreements. No more than 5-6,000MW, industry experts say, is actually being built.
Under the 608 trillion rupiah (US$46.7 billion) program, 75% of the 35,847MW was set aside for independent power producers (IPPs), with state utility Perusaahan Listrik Negara (PLN) constitutionally-responsible for a planned 62,000 kilometers of new transmission lines.
The expansion would add 20,900MW to the 28,000MW Java-Bali grid and 8,700MW to power-starved Sumatra's 3,000MW network, much of it from coal-fired stations that already contribute 58% of Indonesia's total electricity output.
While it has done an admirable job keeping the lights on, PLN is clearly struggling. Its annual 10-year business plan shows it has had to significantly scale down its annual electricity sales forecast and slash 22,300MW in new generating capacity.
In fact, sales have been cut in each of the past three years, with the forecast for 2026 now 31.6% lower than earlier predictions when Widodo was promising 7% growth by the end of his term.
That's because the Java-Bali grid is at over-capacity, due to improved energy efficiencies, a slowdown in the growth of manufacturing to only 4-5% a year, and the greater use of generators in industrial estates and new economic zones.
A study issued this month by US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (EEFA) holds little hope of PLN finding enough interest in the US$2 billion worth of rupiah-denominated Komodo bonds it plans to issue this year to finance future development.
Leaving aside cost under-recovery and ever-present regulatory risks, the IEEFA says PLN is "sinking under the weight of a flawed planning process," with insufficient revenue to offset its huge operating costs, which have averaged US$2.1 billion over the past four years.
In a previous report, IEEFA was critical of Indonesia's centralized coal-based power strategy, saying it risked wasting US$25 billion over the next 25 years if it did not follow the global trend of shifting to smaller plants and renewable options.
"In years past, international capital markets might have overlooked the company's coal dependency and its shaky finances, but no more," says analyst Melissa Brown. "Increasingly global bond investors understand the risks associated with coal lock-in for high-growth countries like Indonesia."
As an example of the value investors place on the environment, she pointed to the recent success of Indonesia's US$1.25 billion sovereign green sukuk bond, the world's first which will go towards renewables, energy efficiency, climate change initiatives and sustainable transport.
Without government subsidies, Brown estimates the utility would have lost US$2.3 billion in 2016 and US$1.47 billion last year. Instead, it was able to book profits of US$591 million and US$321 million respectively from a drip-feed of government assistance that has averaged US$4.7 billion since 2013.
The government has recently capped the domestic coal price for power stations at US$70 a ton until 2020, 30% below the world market price. The Mines and Energy Ministry is also regulating the tariffs of high-cost IPPs.
Transport is a growing issue, too, given the additional 140 million tons of coal 30% of Indonesia's total output that will be required each year, much of it to be moved by ship and barge from Sumatra and Kalimantan to Java.
The problem: Indonesia doesn't have enough capacity to ship that much extra coal without running afoul of its own 2005 Cabotage Law, under which all ships operating in its waters must be under an Indonesian flag.
The government has instructed state-controlled companies to seek alternative sources of finance as public funding constraints begin to bite, without any sign yet that the infrastructure boom is having a significant impact on economic growth.
PLN finance director Sarwono Sudarto has insisted the company is still in good financial shape, pointing to its ability to use its own resources to finance 60% of the 190.7 trillion rupiah ($14.3 billion) in investments between 2015 and 2017.
But the new business plan suggests otherwise, halving an expected increase in power demand to 4% and raising questions over the utility's nation-wide electrification target of 95% set out in the state budget.
Although PLN claims 92% of the populace has access to power, 'access' is the operative word. Most industry experts say without illegal connections and private power generators PLN's actual coverage is probably closer to 65%.
There is no PLN transmission, for example, in northeast Lampung at the southern end of Sumatra, site of a 23,000-hectare shrimp pond farm partly run by Thai agri-business giant Charoen Pokapand, which relies entirely on its own generators.
Elsewhere, mining giant Freeport Indonesia supplies all the power (385MW) to its Grasberg mine on the south coast of Papua. So does BP at its Tangguh LNG plant (105MW) in West Papua, Amman Mineral at its copper and gold mine in Sumbawa (242MW) and nickel miner Vale in Central Sulawesi (375MW).
Natural gas currently makes up 24% of the national energy mix, but with the Masela block development apparently stalled and US energy giant Chevron backing off its US$12 billion Deepwater Development in the Makassar Strait efforts to divert more gas for domestic use are limited.
To understand why everything has not been going to script, look no further than Java 1, the planned 1,780MW gas-fired plant on the eastern edge of Jakarta where state oil firm Pertamina is the main joint venture partner and PLN holds the liquefied natural gas (LNG) contract.
The role reversal reflects the bitter decades-old rivalry between the country's two biggest corporates, with PLN making its own deal to take gas from BP's Tangguh plant after it determined that Pertamina's 40-year-old Bontang facility could only supply half of the required cargoes.
Pertamina already has problems of its own, underscored by last week's abrupt change of management. If its main interest in diversifying into power was to win the contract to supply LNG to Java I's floating re-gasification terminal, then it appears to have fallen flat.
Basten Gokkon, Jakarta Tough measures by Indonesia to protect its fisheries from foreign poaching vessels are proving effective in helping replenish fish stocks, a new study says.
Seizing and blowing up illegal foreign fishing boats and banning fish transfers at sea have eased the pressure on Indonesia's intensively fished waters. The country, the second-biggest marine capture fisheries producer in the world, can serve as an example for other nations plagued by illegal fishing, according to the report published last month in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The report showed that foreign fishing activity in Indonesia declined by more than 90 percent, and total fishing by 25 percent, since 2014, when the government banned foreign fishing boats from its waters, among other restrictions on fishing.
Indonesia lost an estimated $4 billion per year to illegal fishing before 2014, the study noted. Since then, more than 300 ships, foreign and local alike, found violating the fishing bans have been seized and sunk.
"Indonesia's anti-IUU [illegal, unreported and unregulated] fishing policies draw a lot of media attention and speculation about their effect, but no one has demonstrated or evaluated the efficacy of the policies," said lead author Reniel Cabral, a postdoctoral marine scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Cabral and his colleagues studied three different empirical datasets: satellite data of nightlights; publicly accessible automatic identification system (AIS); and vessel monitoring system (VMS) data provided by the Indonesian government.
To verify whether Indonesia's anti-IUU fishing efforts were helping fish recovery, the researchers focused on skipjack tuna, the largest fishery in Indonesia by volume, as a model case study.
The findings suggested Indonesian skipjack tuna fishermen would lose 59 percent in catch and 64 percent in profit by 2035 compared to current levels if an open-access regime was maintained and no IUU policies were implemented in the country.
On the other hand, the scientists suggested the fishermen could enjoy an increase of 14 percent in fish catch by 2035 and 12 percent rise in profit compared to current levels if the government continued to curtail IUU fishing and cap harvests at maximum sustainable levels.
Duto Nugroho, a fisheries biologist at Indonesia's fisheries ministry, said the government had drawn up a number of frameworks and guidelines to achieve maximum sustainable levels to accommodate local fishermen. One such policy is the country's 2016 fisher protection and empowerment act, which adopts sustainable criteria.
Nugroho said the ministry had carried out an evaluation of the policies, but noted there were indications that even as poaching by foreign vessels was severely diminished, local fishermen were catching more fish.
"There are still uncertainties on recovery status of fish stocks post anti-IUU [fishing] polices," he said.
Domestic fishing appears to be expanding significantly to replace international fishing pressure and could undo the benefits of fighting illegal fishing if left unchecked, Cabral and his colleagues agreed.
"[F]or them to continually capture benefits from their anti-IUU fishing policies, they need to ensure that domestic fishing efforts are also well-managed," Cabral said.
There are currently more than 3,300 new fishing boats under construction in Indonesia, and the government aims to distribute more than 13,800 sets of fishing gear to local fishermen by 2019. The new vessels are set to be much smaller than the foreign boats being replaced.
Reducing fishing pressure in Indonesia's waters will have to mean imposing restrictions on local small-scale fishermen, for which contingencies must be made, the researchers noted.
"Governments should include pro-poor measures that provide an economic safety net to local fishers and make legal forms of fishing more lucrative and attractive," they wrote.
Some of the measures the researchers suggested include making small-scale fisheries open access, banning trawl-like fishing gear, and improving fishery registration and data management.
The Indonesian government's policy to make its VMS data publicly available is another indication of its commitment to combating domestic IUU fishing, they added.
"Increased transparency, along with effective regulation and enforcement, can lead to better outcomes for fish stocks and local livelihoods," said David Kroodsma, director of research and development at Global Fishing Watch, an online platform by Google in partnership with the NGOs Oceana and SkyTruth.
About 20 percent of the global fish catch, amounting to 11 million to 26 million metric tons, is caught illegally, resulting in an annual global fisheries losses of $10 billion to $23.5 billion. In some regions, such as the western and central Pacific Ocean and eastern central Atlantic, illegally caught fish may constitute more than 30 percent of the total catch.
Rampant fishing activities in international waters or other countries' exclusive economic zone has typically been accompanied by high incidences of IUU fishing activities, raising concerns about the sustainability of global fisheries.
The researchers suggest that what Indonesia has successfully achieved can be implemented in other countries struggling with interlopers in their waters.
"When a country is plagued by high levels of IUU fishing by foreign fleets, addressing IUU fishing can drive fisheries recovery without reducing local catch and profit," Cabral wrote.
Jakarta Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution urged the public on Tuesday not to panic about the weakening rupiah as the currency settles at Rp 13,900 against the US dollar, according to the Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR).
The rate shows a decline from Friday, when the rupiah stood at 13,804 against the US dollar, and in March at around 13,700.
While Darmin agreed that Indonesia would likely enter a new monetary balance, he stressed that the condition was far away from turmoil.
The public should be aware that the depreciation has barely made a mark on the domestic inflation rate, as food prices and administered prices remain unaffected, he said.
"Nothing is forcing us to mitigate the situation; we don't need to panic," Darmin said, adding that the rupiah was still faring better than the currency of other Asian countries in terms of depreciation rate.
"This weakening was caused by external factors, like [fears of a] trade war and the possible Federal Reserve interest rate increase," Darmin told reporters on Tuesday. (bbn)
Kyle Knight It has been almost a year since 20-year-old "Muhammad" and 23-year-old "Hanif" were marched in front of a jeering crowd in Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province, and flogged more than 80 times.
Their alleged crime? Same-sex intimacy. Their neighbors had caught them together, naked in an apartment a few months earlier, and turned them in to Aceh's notoriously abusive Sharia (Islamic law) police.
The public whipping Indonesia's first for same-sex conduct generated international outrage. The United Nations, human-rights groups, and many private-sector leaders criticized the apparent nadir of a government-driven anti-LGBT campaign that had engulfed Indonesia since early 2016. In May 2017, news channels around the world broadcast the stomach-turning footage of the two men's grotesque punishment. I've changed their names to protect them from further abuse.
More than 530 people have been publicly flogged in Aceh since the province's Islamic criminal code was enacted in October 2015. The authorities have caned men and women for such "crimes" as gambling, non-marital kissing, and extramarital sex.
A few months after Muhammad and Hanif's widely publicized 2017 whipping, Acehnese authorities were clearly feeling stung by the international outcry the gay men's flogging generated.
In a media interview, the Aceh governor, Irwandi Yusuf, suggested that he was worried that videos of the flogging, which were widely circulated online, were making the province unappealing for investors. His suggested solution was to put an end to floggings held in public. Instead, authorities would flog people indoors, away from the cameras. Earlier this month, Yusuf signed this proposal into law.
In 2014, during Yusuf's first stint as Aceh's governor, I interviewed him about his white-knuckle escape from the tsunami in 2004 and his 2007 election victory. A proud former rebel, Yusuf has long opposed Sharia's more extreme laws, and he refused to sign a draft Sharia bylaw in 2009 that would have allowed the authorities to stone adulterers to death.
Now Yusuf, who was last year elected governor for a second time, seems to be trying to gloss over a barbaric violation of basic rights by hiding it from public view. The government should be abolishing this brutal punishment and the abusive laws that allow it, not flogging people in the shadows to mollify squeamish investors.
Meanwhile, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who maintains that Indonesia is a beacon of moderation and tolerance, has failed to protect the rights of the country's beleaguered minorities. He should make it clear to Yusuf that hiding abuses is not the same as ending them, that the moral outrage over public floggings was not a one-time reaction, and that Aceh is bound by Indonesia's constitution and international human-rights commitments.
Perhaps the message Yusuf and Jokowi need to hear again is that the world is watching.
In separate raids on March 12 and March 29, vigilantes twice detained two people and turned them over to the Sharia police. In the first raid, vigilantes targeted a hair salon and detained a man and a transgender woman who worked there. The Sharia police claim to have found "evidence" of same-sex conduct, including condoms and "transaction money" from the transgender woman.
On March 29 exactly a year from when Muhammad and Hanif were arrested in 2017 vigilantes forcibly entered a private house and called the Sharia police, who arrested two male college students for allegedly having sex. The Sharia police seized condoms, cell phones, and a mattress as evidence of their alleged "crime." All four detainees remain in Sharia police custody, pending trial in a religious court.
Last year's experience demonstrated that global agitation was noticed after the fact even from stubborn officials who uphold these abusive laws. This time around, if the court sentences the four detainees to lashes, we won't see it on TV or read about it in the newspapers.
The time for international outrage is now.
Edward Aspinall, Diego Fossati, Burhanuddin Muhtadi & Eve Warburton Are Indonesia's political parties all alike? Are some more in favour of political reform than others? Do some favour business interests while others see themselves as siding with the poor? And does it make sense to think of some parties as left-wing and others as right-wing?
Over the twenty years of Indonesian democracy, the answer to such questions has generally been "no". Many observers have suggested that Indonesian parties differ little on matters of policy and ideology, with the only obvious division between them being the degree to which they believe Islam should play a role in public affairs.
Scholars have reached this conclusion largely by looking at how parties behave and interact with one another, often remarking that even the ideological cleavage between Islamic and non-Islamic parties is not associated with programmatic differences in key areas such as fiscal and social policy. Political scientists such as Dan Slater and Kuskridho Ambardi have argued that Indonesian politics are dominated by a "cartel" of parties characterised by their common desire to share the spoils of office, rather than by ideological or policy differentiation. As a result, parties are willing to form very broad and ideologically heterogeneous "rainbow coalitions" comprising both Islamic and non-Islamic parties.
Another way to explore ideological difference and convergence, however, is to examine how political elites themselves perceive the ideological leanings of their own parties and those with which they compete. While surveys of political elites are common in comparative research, in the Indonesian case we lack comprehensive data on how politicians perceive their parties' positions on crucial issues. We have therefore been unable to accurately measure where Indonesian parties stand on the various ideological dimensions that might structure politics in the country.
Such perceptions are important. Even if parties are willing to cooperate in order to share power, as the party cartel thesis emphasises, they might still promote different ideological visions and policies once in office. And there are reasons to believe that such visions might vary, not least the fact that some of the parties have very different origins. For example, the Golkar party was the electoral vehicle of the former authoritarian regime of President Suharto, while PAN (the National Mandate Party) was formed by Amien Rais, one of the leaders of the Reformasi movement that led to the demise of that regime. Should we therefore expect that politicians from these two parties will have different outlooks on the post-Reformasi political system?
In order to collect such systematic data on party elites' views, in late 2017 and early 2018 Lembaga Survei Indonesia (LSI), in a project based on cooperation with the Australian National University (ANU), conducted a survey of 508 randomly selected members of Indonesian provincial legislatures (DPRD). The respondents were chosen from the legislatures of 31 of Indonesia's 34 provinces (only North Kalimantan, West Papua and West Sulawesi did not make the final cut), in a way that was representative of the entire national population of provincial DPRD members. Our survey covered a large number of issues, including legislators' attitudes to democracy, their religious views, their family and professional backgrounds, and their thoughts on the major political issues of the day.
We will be analysing this material in detail, and comparing these party elites' views with the views of the Indonesian population as a whole, in later publications. In this post, we simply want to highlight what the survey tells us about party diversity in Indonesia, and offer some thoughts on how the findings contribute to the ongoing debate about the structure and representativeness of Indonesia's contemporary party system.
To measure party ideology, we asked respondents to locate their own parties' positions on nine key ideological questions using a series of ten-point scales. We then averaged the numbers given by each party's respondents in order to locate that party on an ideological spectrum with relation to the issue concerned. (For example, to ascertain whether parties were differentiated by their attitudes to economic policy, we asked each respondent: "If measured on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means 'a party that promotes economic equality' and 10 means 'a party that promotes economic growth', where would you place your own political party?")
On many questions we found parties were clustered closely together, mostly around the centre of the spectrum sometimes toward the "right", other times toward the "left".
Confirming a common assumption in the literature, however, there was only one issue area that produced clear and consistent ideological differentiation: religion. In our two questions that dealt with the role of religion in politics, respondents answered in ways that spread the parties relatively widely along the spectrum of possible scores.
We asked respondents about the degree to which their party was based on Pancasila the official state ideology, which implies the adoption of a pluralist position which was scored at 1, or on Islam, which was scored at 10. By this measure, the most Islamic party in the view of its own members is PPP (the Unity Development Party), with an average score of 7.22, while the most Pancasila-oriented is PDI-P, at 1.82.
This constitutes a significant gap of 5.4 separating the positions of these two flank parties. Remove these two outliers and the gap between the most distant parties is still considerable, at 3.4. The average position of all parties (at 3.27) is tilted toward Pancasila rather than Islam.
Another question on religion qualifies this result, while also producing a notable if less dramatic spread. We asked respondents whether they saw their own party as seeking a smaller (1) or larger (10) role for Islam in politics. Here answers were tilted significantly to the right, with only two parties scoring below 5. These results suggest that on average, Indonesian provincial politicians see their parties as wishing Islam to play a more prominent role in politics. Even so, there is significant variation among parties on this issue, with 3.79 points separating the lowest-scoring party (again, PDI-P) and the highest-scoring party (again, PPP).
On whether they desire a greater or lesser political role for Islam, the four Islamic-based parties are in one group toward the right of the spectrum. PDI-P and Nasdem are the only two parties whose members agreed, on average, that they wanted a somewhat lesser role for Islam, while the other four parties are clustered closely together just to the right of centre. In the previous scale on Pancasila vs. Islam, the spread was substantially wider.
It is worth pointing out that even though there is clear differentiation among parties on the role of religion in politics, the parties overall are not strongly polarised on this issue; i.e. we do not see clustering of parties at opposite ends of the spectrum. Taken together, the results suggest that many of the provincial DPRD members we interviewed do not see Pancasila as necessarily implying a commitment to the implementation of secularist policies.
A pluralist-Islamic divide could also be observed when we asked politicians the more general question of whether they agreed that "all Indonesian political parties have a similar ideology". On average, members of the Islamic parties (PPP, PKS, PAN and PKB) and of PDI-P which is viewed by its members as offering the most pluralist alternative disagreed with the statement. Golkar and those parties set up by former Golkar elites (Nasdem, Gerindra, and Hanura), together with former President Yudhoyono's Partai Demokrat, agreed on average that Indonesian parties are similar ideologically.
What about other issues that might structure party competition? In many countries, especially in Europe, North and South America and Australasia, party leaders and members readily locate their parties on a left-right spectrum. Definitions of "left" and "right" can and do vary, but for the purposes of survey research we can understand a leftist ideological stance as one favouring a significant role for the state in the economy, economic redistribution through social spending, and progressive social policies supporting the rights of women and minorities. Similarly, we can define a right wing party as one that supports market-oriented economic policies, opposes expensive social policy programs to alleviate economic inequalities, and endorses conservative positions on social issues in defence of traditional values.
A language of left-right cleavage is rarely used in daily political discourse in Indonesia, in part because the idea of explicitly left-wing politics was anathematised by the Suharto regime after the 1965-66 massacre of supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party. Even so, we thought it was worth checking whether party elites viewed their parties in this way. We asked whether politicians saw their party as having a "left" or "liberal/progressive" orientation (1) versus a "right" or "conservative" orientation (10). The result? Indonesian parties mostly view themselves as being right-of-centre but more to the centre than toward the flank.
To avoid terminological confusion, before respondents got to this item in the questionnaire we asked them a series of questions that we thought might act as proxies for either a left or right bias. For example, we asked if they saw their party as favouring renewal (pembaruan, scored at 1) or as "maintaining tradition" (mempertahankan tradisi, scored at 10). There was significant spread here, but all parties were on average more in favour of renewal (2.71) than tradition, ranging from Golkar (2.18) to PPP (4.55).
We also asked politicians whether their parties favoured women's emancipation (1) or believed women should act in accordance with their traditional role (kodrat, 10). Here parties mostly claimed to be emancipatory, with a range from 2.66 (Nasdem) to 5.12 (PPP).
Do politicians believe their parties champion the ideals of the Reformasi movement (1), or do they want to go back to the system used by the New Order (the former Suharto regime) (10)? They all say they support Reformasi, with an average score of 1.98. Notably, on this question the views of politicians from Golkar and its offshoots, such as Gerindra and Hanura, are not dramatically different to those of parties most associated with the Reformasi movement, particularly PAN and PDI-P.
When it comes to the economy, most parties turned out to have statist inclinations. We asked whether they favoured a greater role for the state (1) or private sector (10) in the economy, and averages ranged from Gerindra with 3.05, to PKS with 4.88. When asked whether their parties favoured the interests of the poor (1) or of investors (10), respondents all claimed their parties favour the poor, with party averages clustered tightly between 2.09 (PKB) and 3.34 (Golkar).
Recall the question we mentioned earlier, about a party's prioritising economic equality (1) or economic growth (10). It turns out that the most pro-equality party was the PKB (National Awakening Party) with a score of 4.26, while the most pro-growth party was the Hanura Party (People's Conscience Party) with a score of 5.58 (just over the middle of the scale, which is 5.5). With such little variation along the scale (4.26 to 5.58), and an average overall score among parties of 4.99, we can conclude that all Indonesian parties feel they must strike a balance between economic egalitarianism and growth.
A few patterns are visible in our data: PDI-P tends to be located toward the left on most issues, while PPP is at the far right, at least on questions with a social or religious character.
Overall, though, our findings provide a consistent picture of ideological convergence amongst Indonesia's political parties across a range of issue areas with the notable exception of religion. Even where differences on the scale were small, politicians ordered their parties in such a way that reflected a key assumption in the literature on Indonesian politics: that parties differentiate primarily if not solely in terms of how they view the role of Islam in public and political life.
These results raise further questions about political representation in contemporary Indonesia. For example: do voters themselves differentiate between parties in the same way, and organise their political preferences along religious lines as well? Are parties accurately representing their constituents when it comes to questions of religion and secular government? And, despite the lack of differentiation between parties on many issues, is it the case that politicians' policy preferences are in fact still congruent with those of the voting public? These are the sorts of questions we will investigate in future papers. By systematically measuring elite perspectives on core policy areas, and comparing them with popular preferences, we can explore how well Indonesia's political system is working to represent the interests and ideologies of its citizens.