Miriam Zarriga A group called the "West Papua Interest Association" has been stopped from carrying out any awareness in the Kiunga-Tabubil area.
PNG police confirmed a letter was received from the association, however due to the sensitivity of the issue they would be discussing and the type of awareness they are carrying out they were asked to not carry out their awareness.
In the letter sighted by this newspaper, the team of 200 men and women would be arriving and coming in from Oksibil Star Mountain Regency of West Papua.
From the 200 men and women, 50 were security forces with their identification such as a recognised ID cards and the sets of uniforms and another 150 men and women representing each district.
The letter signed by Kare Kotanon Urupkulin, who is the international border coordinator, and stamped, is supported by Geoff Mecky Uropkulin, who is the team representative. The aim of the association is to carry out human rights violation awareness for one week in Kiunga.
PNG's border commander, Samson Kua said while he understood their rights to host an awareness of their continued efforts for freedom, he said it would not be appropriate to stage the awareness at a time the country was ready to deliver APEC in two weeks.
He added that they did not want any disruptions experienced at the borders of the country. Mr Kua said the security of the country was imperative and important to maintain.
"We have to also protect this country and ensure that the security of everyone in Western Province is protected. "I have already explained the reasons to the association and I hope they will adhere to what I have told them already," Mr Kua said.
"This country is hosting an important event in APEC, and I have stressed to the association that no awareness will be carried out.
"I do not want any disruptions to the efforts of the Joint Security Taskforce along the borders. Failure to adhere to the directives given will see the arrest of those who continue to disregard the directive that has been set," Mr Kua said.
Islami Adisubrata, Wamena Papua Regional Police hand over the case of a Polish tourist Jakup Fabian Skrzypski (JF) who arrested a few months ago to Jayawijaya District Attorney on Friday (02/11/2018) because all documents and evidence are considered complete.
"So, the four suspects are handed over, two arrested in Wamena, including JF, and others arrested in Yalimo," said Adjunct Police Commissionaire Lintong Simanjuntak, the Chief of Violence and Crime Division of the Directorate of Crime Investigation of Papua Regional Police.
By flight Trigana Air, JF and three other persons (SM, SA and IW) departed from Jayapura to Wamena and immediately transferred to Jayawijaya District Attorney Office for re-examination.
The four have now officially detainees of District Attorney. They sent two defendants to the House of Correction Class B Wamena, while the rest placed in the police custody in Jayawijaya Police Headquarter.
Adjunct Commissionaire Simanjuntak, who accompanied the four defendants from Jayapura to Wamena, said although Papua Police investigates this case of alleged treason, the trial would be conducted in Wamena because the incident occurred in Wamena.
"The investigation conducted by Papua Regional Police in collaboration with Papua District Attorney Office, and it has been at P21 phase or a stage which both suspects and evidence are submitted to Jayawijaya District Attorney Office to use in the Wamena District Court," he said in the House of Correction Wamena.
Furthermore, he admitted that during the investigation, the police assisted by the Foreign Ministry has communicated with the Polish Ambassador in Jakarta. So, all procedures have done appropriately.
Meanwhile, the Chief of State's Defense and Public Security of the Papua District Attorney Adrianus Irham Tamana said the trial would conduct before twenty days of detention. "The trial before twenty days of detention will be handed over to the court. Currently, they are still under our custody," he said.
Meanwhile, the suspects' legal advisor Latifah Anum Siregar said the public prosecutor's team objected if the detainees placed in the jail of Police Headquarter due to prison overcapacity. "Does this transfer create a problem of overcapacity? What about their access and rights? Can it be fulfilled or not?" questioned Siregar.
Also, she revealed that during the detention in Papua Regional Police, the detention room had already been overcapacity, with 50 people occupied the space of 25. Moreover, they must share the toilet for bathing, washing dishes and so on.
"The reason of security must be compared with humanitarian purpose. Do not apply this reason to ignore humanity. Instead, it becomes overreacted because my clients have to get access to lawyers, religious leaders and this shouldn't be restricted," she said.
Furthermore, she revealed that from the beginning her client JF had rejected all allegations against him through the police had the evidence. She also thinks the legal process of four suspects was made difficult, for instance, they were arrested in Wamena but brought to Jayapura for investigation and transferred to Wamena for trial.
"A file related to JF is about Simon Magal who arrested in Timika. We need to clarify this, as well as its legal process. However, it seems the police made it complicated," she said.
Moreover, she hopes that the attorney office can accelerate the trial, and her legal team will see what evidence used in the court.
"Our client refuse all charges, including the photographs showing him holding the weapon, and trained using the weapon because all conducted in his country where the use of the weapon is legal. "We'll see the evidence in the trial," she said. (*)
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has added his voice to growing calls across the international community for one of the world's biggest oil companies to rethink its involvement in a gas-mining operation in occupied West Papua, as Indonesia continues to face accusations of grave human rights abuses.
Earlier this year, UK Journalist of the Year, Michael Gillard snuck into West Papua posing as a doctor to investigate British Petroleum's operations in Bintuni Bay, where it's trying to exploit a $10 billion gas field called Tangguh.
Journalists are banned from the Indonesian-occupied territory. Even the United Nations can't gain access. Gillard's exclusive report on the situation in West Papua was released yesterday. Gillard found:
Critics fear that the counter-terrorism is a cover for increasing state surveillance on the growing student and social movements seeking political freedoms and ultimately self-determination for West Papua.
The head of the Papuan organisation that provided human rights training to BP security told New Matilda that a network of undercover military intelligence agents is also targeting peaceful social movements in Bintuni Bay, who are being swept up in mass arrests.
Richard Di Natale, who leads the Greens party in Australia has a long history of advocating on the rights of West Papuans, who have faced a brutal occupation by Indonesia since the 1960s.
"West Papuans are some of our closest neighbours, yet there is a veil of silence in Australia about the appalling human rights abuses that occur there, and the fact that they have been denied their right to self-determination," Mr Di Natale said.
"BP should bear in mind that it is collaborating with security forces who are implicated in serious atrocities. These forces are willing to beat and even kill people simply for peacefully flying the Morning Star flag.
"Let's hope that as more people find out what's happening in Bintuni Bay, BP will face pressure from the international community and its own shareholders to drastically shift course and consider the rights of the indigenous locals."
The militarisation of BP's Tangguh operation comes as a recent Amnesty International report on West Papua documented 95 extrajudicial killings by soldiers and police in the last eight years, and thousands of unlawful political arrests.
Control of West Papua was established by a brutal invasion where an estimated 30,000 Papuans were killed between 1965 and 1969 by US-backed Indonesian security forces.
The soldiers were fresh from murdering over 500,000 suspected communist sympathisers in their own country, as described in British documentary maker Joshua Oppenheimer's much lauded film, The Act of Killing.
Indonesian military intelligence then rigged a controversial vote among selected Papuans in 1969, which to its discredit the United Nations went along with.
Di Natale is the latest leader to call for the international community and the United Nations must to face up to its responsibility to confront multinational companies and Jakarta over their conduct in West Papua.
British peer, Lord Harries of Pentregarth, the former bishop of Oxford, told New Matilda it was "high time the world woke up to the slow motion genocide" taking place and questioned the involvement of one of Britain's biggest companies.
"BP are siphoning off West Papuan resources to Indonesia blind to the brutal repression going on around them," he said. "Ever since Indonesia invaded West Papua in 1961 Papuans have been bitterly repressed, with hundreds of thousands being killed. The Indonesian Government are desperate to hide what is happening from the rest of the world."
Benny Wenda, the recently elected leader of the United Movement for the Liberation of West Papua (UMLWP), who was granted political asylum in the United Kingdom 16 years ago, accused BP of "supporting an illegal occupation [and] operating in the middle of a genocide".
British Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has long supported Wenda and West Papuan independence and endorsed a petition that the UMLWP leader presented to the United Nations last year.
Alex Sobel, a Labour MP and chairman of the British parliament's all-party group on West Papua, called on BP to pull out of the country until it becomes self-governing.
"BP are operating amid clear human rights abuses. They should learn the lesson of Shell in [Nigeria] and withdraw from West Papua until such time the West Papuans are in control of their land."
Two more West Papua Liberation Army members have been killed in hostilities with Indonesia's military in the Highlands of Papua province.
The latest fighting on Saturday was in Lanny Jaya regency, where troops from Indonesia's military, or TNI, exchanged gunfire with the Liberation Army in rugged terrain.
A TNI spokesman in West Papua, Colonel Inf Muhammad Aidi, said the deaths stemmed from an earlier alleged killing of a local civilian by the Liberation Army.
He said that as Indonesian security forces tried to evacuate the man's body, dozens of Liberation Army fighters opened fire on them from nearby hills.
Colonel Aidi said the TNI responded by sending a team to attack the Papuan fighters, two of whom were shot dead, while most of them retreated to the bush.
A Liberation Army spokesman, Akouboo Amatas Douw, has accused the TNI and police of numerous indiscriminate attacks on Papuan communities in the Highlands region this year.
The Australia-based spokesman said the international community should pay attention to the conflict in Papua, especially since Indonesia took up a seat at the UN Security Council.
He has accused the TNI of "cruelty", "barbaric" actions and killing innocent civilians from villages in remote Highlands regions around Puncak Jaya, Nduga, Timika and Lanny Jaya.
"Even uncounted thousands civilians were displaced until today no one care about their lives," Mr Douw said. "The 56 years of Indonesian occupation in West Papua resulted systematic genocide, massive human rights and humanitarian crisis by their military operation at large."
But Colonel Aidi, who along with other Indonesian authorities refers to the Liberation Army as "separatists", said that they had lured the TNI into a trap.
"This separatist group which has bases in remote jungle around Papua's centre mountain area, has long record doing crimes in Papua," he added.
"In last few months they've killed three civilians, injured a young boy with chopping knife, killed a taxibike in Ilaga, shot a civilian flight in and killed two army soldiers in Mulia", Colonel Aidi explained.
He said the TNI would continue to assist police in their pursuit of the West Papua Liberation Army whose Highlands commander declared war on the Indonesian state in January.
Hengky Yeimo and Benny Mawel, Jayapura West Papua National Committee (KNPB) just accomplished the Second Congress that held on 23-25 October 2018 in Kampung Vietnam, Waena.
The new elected KNPB Chairman Agus Kossay said as the national representation of West Papuans, KNPB continues to fight for the right of Papua's self-determination through a referendum.
"All participants of the Congress who consist of central and regional leaders and consulate members decide to fight for one political goal via a referendum as a peaceful and democratic solution, that is the independence of the West Papuan nation," he told reporters on Tuesday (30/10/2018).
To achieve this goal, said Kossay, KNPB calls on all West Papuans to participate in the National Civil Strike as a national agenda of Papua. "Yesterday we decided to put off our microphone, but today we will reuse it against the colonialism," said Kosay.
Moreover, he said that KNPB is ready to on-the-road action raising a red flag with "fighting" written as background, wearing army attributes, sunglasses and conducting peaceful rally around the city.
"We are going to return to our old path: a peaceful rally around the city's streets with an agenda of self-determination through a referendum," he said.
Kossay further explained about various strategies that they would use as a tool, in particular, the civil strike, to support both national and international agenda with the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP).
On regards this strategy, he calls on the Indonesian National Police in both Papua and West Papua provinces to provide enough space in prisons for activists who will go the street for protest. "To the police, empty the prison because we're coming soon. We'll occupy the jail, and we're ready for that," he said.
Moreover, in the congress KNPB also declares their support for the West Papua National Liberation (TPNPB). "We declare to the people of West Papua and all components of our movement that we acknowledge the TPNPB as the only West Papuan military," he said.
They also restate their support over the West Papuan diplomats united in the ULMWP who voice the self-determination issue at the international level.
The Second Congress which attended by 600 participants from 29 regional KNPB offices and 7 KNPB consulate offices in Indonesia also elected and appointed some new officials.
They are as follows: Agus Kossay as the General Chairman, Warpo Wetipo as the First Chairman, Feronika Hubi as the General Secretary, Mecky Yeimo as the First Secretary, Ones Suhuniap as the National Spokesperson, Victor F. Yeimo as the International Spokesperson, Patrick Logo as the Treasurer. Some commissariats and departments were also established based on relevant requirements.
Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta Several organizations have encouraged Gadjah Mada University (UGM) to help one of its students to take legal action following an alleged sexual assault against her by another student.
Ika Ayu from Yogyakarta Women's Network (JPY) told The Jakarta Post that they regretted UGM's slow handling of the case.
The case, which occurred on June 30 last year during a university community service assignment (KKN) in Maluku, became public after the university's student press, Balairung, published an investigative report on the sexual assault case on Monday.
Referring to the victim by the pseudonym Agni, Balairung reported that Agni had reported the assault soon after it happened. However, the campus officials instead blamed her for the incident. "We encourage UGM to bring this case to law enforcement to create a deterrent effect," said Ika on Wednesday.
Ika said they found out about the case after it went "viral", while it happened in June last year. "It shows UGM doesn't know what to do in such cases," she said.
She said UGM had also failed to show seriousness in handling past cases. In June 2016, The Jakarta Post made an investigative report about alleged sexual abuse by a lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences, identified as EH, against several female students. The lecturer was dismissed from his teaching job but is still officially a lecturer there.
Several organizations that signed a joint statement to demand that UGM deliver justice to the victim said the campus should give the perpetrator a tough punishment such as expulsion.
UGM's public relations officer, Iva Ariani, said Tuesday that UGM was working to deliver justice to the victim. "He has been dismissed from his KKN program and suspended for a semester," said Iva.
UGM said they were looking into necessary steps to pursue a legal avenue for this case. (evi)
Sri Wahyuni and Evi Mariani, Yogyakarta/Jakarta Gadjah Mada University's (UGM) initial response to a recent sexual assault case allegedly involving two of its students has angered thousands of people, who have signed a petition demanding that the Yogyakarta university punish the student perpetrator and the campus officials that had penalized the student victim.
In less than 24 hours, the online petition on change.org had garnered more than 55,000 signatories by Wednesday morning, with more people signing every second to reach 63,000 signatories by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.
"We demand that the UGM rector, the advisory board and the Research, Technology and Higher Education Ministry to strengthen regulations on preventing sexual assault and law enforcement against sex offenders," the petition states as one of its demands.
A separate call to a rally on Thursday has been circulating on social media to demand that the university thoroughly investigate the case and create a safe campus environment. The call says that UGM is facing "a sexual violence emergency", pointing out that the latest case was not the university's first and that UGM has not been siding with victims.
On Nov. 5, Balairung published an investigative report based on the testimony of a female student under the pseudonym Agni, who gave the UGM student magazine permission to publish the full details of her account.
Agni said that a fellow student had assaulted her during a community service project (KKN) at a Maluku village on June 30, 2017. The KKN is a kind of field school program that lasts several months, during which the students live with local families in the target village.
Agni said she was visiting a villager until late evening at their home where fellow KKN student "HS" was staying, so she decided to spend the night at HS' homestay and return to her own lodging in the morning. They had to share a single room that night, Agni said, but that they were separated by some distance in the room. She also said she slept fully clothed and still in her headscarf.
Early the following morning, she said she felt HS groping her, opening her top, kissing her breasts and inserting his fingers in her genitalia. She froze in momentary shock until she felt pain that prompted her to yell at HS, "What are you doing!"
Agni said she immediately reported the incident to the KKN supervisor and the UGM Community Service Department (DKPM), which managed the program. The university officials cut short HS' program and sent him back to Yogyakarta, but Agni said they also blamed her for the incident, with one official telling her to "repent", reported Balairung.
Agni said that after the assault, she often felt scared at night and ended up staying awake all night. She also had suicidal thoughts, she said as quoted by Balairung.
In November 2017, Agni learned that she received a C for her KKN assignment, while her peers on the same program received an A or a B. Agni said she asked about the reason for her low grade, and that the KKN management responded that she had to share the blame for the incident that "embarrassed UGM" in front of the local villagers.
In the Balairung article, a university official who declined to be named said that the student press should not be in a rush to call Agni a victim. "Like a cat given salted fish, it will at least sniff it and might even eat the fish, right?" Balairung quoted the official as saying in reference to Agni.
In December 2017, Agni reported the C she received for her KKN assignment and the circumstances surrounding it to her academic department, the Social and Political Sciences Faculty (Fisipol). The Fisipol's cooperation, alumni and research deputy dean, Poppy Sulistyaning Winanti, and the deputy dean for academics and student affairs, Wawan Mas'udi, followed up on her case to the top administrative level.
An inter-departmental independent investigation team was formed that recommended Agni's KKN grade be revise from C to A/B. The team also recommended that the perpetrator write an apology and attend a mandatory counseling session for sexual abusers.
On Tuesday, in response to the Balairung article, Fisipol UGM posted a statement on its Instagram account, @fisipolugm, reiterating its commitment to "side with victim".
"With this, Fisipol UGM states that we side with the survivor to find justice and a thorough solution to the problem," the statement said.
It also said that steps had been taken to deal with "Agni's" case, including a letter it sent to the rector on Dec. 22, 2017 that asked the university to manage the case thoroughly.
Fisipol said that the rector arranged a closed meeting with relevant parties in response to its letter, and agreed during the meeting to set up an investigation team that involved several departments. The rector also agreed to sanction the DKPM officials for their "ignorance" in their initial handling of the incident until "the survivor" reported the case to Fisipol.
During the same meeting, Fisipol said it agreed to engage psychologists to provide trauma counseling for "the survivor".
The statement continued that, after an intensive investigation, the team submitted its recommendations to the rector on July 20, 2018, which included punishment for the perpetrator, protection and support for the victim and improvements to managing the KKN program.
"This is why Fisipol UGM is pushing for a thorough and speedy management of the case by implementing the follow-up measures as recommended by the investigation team," the statement said, ending with a call to all parties to create a campus that was free from sexual abuse.
Separately, UGM public relations and protocol head Iva Ariani said the university would continue its work to make sure that the victim received protection and justice.
"Next, UGM will soon take the necessary real steps to take the case to the legal domain," Iva said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
In 2016, a sexual abuse case that involved several female victims among Fisipol students rocked the university. The perpetrator, EH, was a respected lecturer and the head of the international relations department at the time of the incident. The victims reported that EH groped their breasts and rubbed his crotch against their' bodies during a one-on-one academic consultation on their theses in a closed room.
EH was stripped of his positions, but is still officially employed as a UGM lecturer.
The victim who spoke to The Jakarta Post two years ago said that even after the department accepted the sexual assault report she and the other victims had submitted, she still bumped into EH in the department's basement parking lot.
The investigative report in the Balairung student magazine also cited other unresolved sexual assault cases at UGM.
Many believe that the incidents of sexual assault at universities that have emerged in the public eye are a mere tip of the iceberg.
In 2008, the University of Indonesia (UI) Law School received sexual assault reports from several students on a lecturer, TN. As in the case of UGM's EH, TN also sexually assaulted his students during one-on-one thesis consultations. TN was later dismissed from UI but he was still being interviewed by the media.
Women's empowerment and rights activist Damairia Pakpahan told the Post in 2016 that she represented a sexual assault victim of a humanities lecturer at UGM, but that the case did not go anywhere.
The Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC Indonesia), a youth group for university students, said in a statement on Wednesday that sexual assault had been happening at Indonesian universities for many years.
"Growing awareness and knowledge about sexual assault inspire survivors to dare to speak out. The increasing number of reports on sexual assault does not mean that cases of sexual assault are on the rise, but that the number of survivors who dare to speak out is on the rise," it said.
SGRC Indonesia noted that universities sometimes did not appreciate the courage it took survivors to speak about their experiences and even blamed them for the sexual assault. "This is double victimization and as a result, the survivor feels guilty [for reporting the incident and for the incident itself]," it said, and that victim blaming could disrupt a survivor's day-to-day life.
Bambang Nurbianto, Jakarta Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Monday that the unemployment figure declined to 7 million in August, down from 7.04 million in the same month of 2017. The unemployment rate was recorded at 5.34 percent.
"The unemployment rate in urban areas was higher than in villages," said BPS head Suhariyanto in a press conference, adding that the number of manpower reached 131.01 million in August, up 2.95 million from a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of employed manpower reached 124.01, which is 2.99 million more than in August last year.
The BPS data show that the informal sector is still very important for nationwide employment with a contribution of 56.84 percent, down merely 0.19 percentage points from August last year.
Hospitality and the food and beverage industry contributed 0.47 percentage points to the employment increase, followed by the manufacturing industry (0.21 percentage points) and the transportation (0.17 percentage points), according to BPS.
Meanwhile, the agricultural sector contribution declined by 0.89 percentage points, followed by the service sector (0.11 percentage points) and education (down 0.05 percentage points). (bbn)
Jakarta Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri has described the adjusted minimum wage for 2019, an 8.03 percent increase from the current figure, as a fair balance between the needs of employers, employees and prospective employees.
The new minimum wage, he said, would below enough so that employers would not need to fire workers, but high enough to help workers maintain a decent living.
"Workers do not need to hold protests [...] because there will be a guaranteed and significant wage adjustment," he said on Saturday as reported by kompas.com.
He added that the wage adjustment would also benefit prospective employees because, by not affecting business activities, it would not lessen their chances for employment.
The wage hike is a follow up of Government Regulation No. 78/2015, which offers a mandatory formula for provincial administrations to calculate a new annual minimum wage based on the predicted inflation and economic growth of the following year.
The government has adjusted the minimum wage by 8.03 percent based on a predicted inflation of 2.88 percent and economic growth of 5.15 percent next year.
Hanif added that as of November, all 34 provinces have announced next year's adjusted minimum wage, although eight had yet to formally report the increase to Manpower Ministry. (brf)
Saudi Arabia's decision to execute an Indonesian domestic worker has triggered a diplomatic row between the two nations. The maid's case highlights the dangers faced by foreign workers in Saudi households.
The execution of an Indonesian domestic worker by Saudi authorities this week without even informing her family and consular staff drew strong condemnation from Indonesian officials.
Tuti Tursilawati was executed on Monday in the city of Thaif, Indonesia's Foreign Ministry announced, seven years after she was sentenced to death in connection with a murder.
News agencies Reuters and AFP reported that Tursilawati was found guilty of killing her employer in June 2011. Indonesian advocacy group Migrant Care was quoted as saying in September that Tursilawati had been defending herself from being raped.
But the director for overseas citizen protection at Indonesia's foreign ministry, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, was quoted by The Jakarta Post as saying that Tursilawati did not commit the murder in self-defense against attempted rape.
"It is true that Tuti had been harassed, but not when she committed the murder," Iqbal said. After the incident, she ran away from her employer but was raped by nine Saudi men before the police took her into custody. All of her rapists were processed separately, the newspaper reported.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as "Jokowi," on Wednesday criticized the Saudi decision to carry out the death penalty. He said the government had done everything it could to prevent the execution.
"We have many times [requested to be notified about executions] directly to King Salman [bin Abdulaziz Al Saud] and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir," The Jakarta Post reported Jokowi as saying. "I have said it over and over again. Do not think that we are not taking political steps."
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi also called her Saudi counterpart to express disapproval. "Tuti's execution was carried out without [prior notification]. I also summoned the Saudi ambassador [Usamah Muhammad Al Syuaiby] in Jakarta to meet me in Bali," she said.
This is not the first time, however, that Indonesian citizens faced capital punishment in Saudi Arabia. In March, the Saudi authorities beheaded Indonesian national M. Zaini Misrin for murder despite Jokowi's repeated pleas to grant clemency.
At the time, Saudi Arabia did not notify the Indonesian government beforehand about the execution.
Between 2011 and 2018, 102 Indonesians faced death row in Saudi Arabia. Three were executed, 79 were freed from the execution, and 20 are still locked in a legal process for clemency.
Observers say Indonesia would appear hypocritical if it criticized Saudi Arabia for carrying out the execution as the Southeast Asian country also has capital punishment on its books and implements it for certain crimes.
Under Jokowi, Indonesia has executed 18 death row inmates convicted of drug-related offenses, including foreigners, since 2015.
Jakarta's protests were based on the lack of consular notification before executing Tursilawati, rather than complaining about the execution.
Wahyu Susilo, director of Migrant Care, criticized the Indonesian government's failure to stop the execution. "Our diplomacy is weak," he told DW. "The Saudi government has also been uncooperative when it comes to upholding human rights," he added.
Tursilawati's case once again highlights the dangers faced by foreign domestic workers, including Indonesians, in Saudi households.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world's biggest importers of domestic workers. Although many domestic workers have positive relationships with their employers, accusations of abuse and fraudulent behavior remain widespread.
Stories often appear in local and international media outlets of employers treating domestic workers, most of whom are women, as akin to slaves, depriving them of basic freedoms and engaging in physical, sexual and psychological abuse.
The domestic work environment also limits the authorities' ability to tackle the exploitation. In most cases, what happens inside a household remains inside, and it's tough for the workers to prove their mistreatment in the hands of their employers.
The so-called "Kafala," or sponsorship, system governs the labor market in Saudi Arabia as well as a number of other Middle Eastern nations like the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. Domestic workers from a number of Southeast Asian and South Asian countries migrate to these countries in search of better pay and lives.
The system, however, prohibits migrant laborers from changing jobs or leaving the country without their sponsor's approval in most circumstances. In the case of domestic workers, it ties their visas to their employers, making them vulnerable and totally dependent on host families, say observers.
Workers attempting to escape from an abusive employer may face deportation, fines or even imprisonment.
With reports of abuse often drawing global attention over the past several years, countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have all recently come up with laws aimed at preventing the exploitation.
Still, rights groups say they fall short of what's required to put an end to migrant worker mistreatment in the region.
After the recent execution, Migrant Care urged the Jokowi administration to strengthen efforts to protect Indonesian workers abroad.
It said Indonesia should reverse its recent decision to allow a limited number of Indonesian migrant workers to enter Saudi Arabia despite a 2015 moratorium banning new domestic workers from entering 21 Middle Eastern countries.
Indonesia introduced the ban following the execution of two other Indonesian maids by Saudi Arabia the same year.
Jakarta The Jakarta administration announced on Thursday the 2019 minimum wage, which has been set at Rp 3.94 million (US$260), as stated in Gubernatorial Regulation No. 114/2018.
The figure is around 8 percent increase from the current minimum wage of Rp 3.6 million. The announcement took place simultaneously with other regions across the country, as suggested by Manpower Ministerial Regulation No. 7/201 on the minimum wage.
In a written statement published on the city's official website, the Jakarta administration also cited its program to improve workers' welfare in the city through the Kartu Pekerja, or worker's card.
The program is aimed at helping low-income workers to cut their expenditure especially on transportation, household needs and education.
In order to get the card, workers whose monthly income is equal to or 10 percent higher than the minimum wage should submit an application to the city administration. The application should include copies of their ID card (KTP), family card (KK), tax number (NPWP), a salary slip and an official letter from their employer.
"The application can be submitted to the Manpower Agency or sub-agencies or through union representatives," the statement read.
Under the program, the card holder will be able to use Transjakarta buses for free. The card also provides subsidies for basic household needs in city-owned traditional markets and allowances for their children's education.
The education subsidy ranges from Rp 250,000 per month for an elementary school pupil to Rp 1.8 million per semester for older students. (vla)
Vindry Florentin, Jakarta A community embodied by victims of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law (UU ITE) is pushing for the government to drop three Articles within the law that is often considered as a "rubber law" prone to a broad interpretation.
Community coordinator Muhammad Arsyad deemed the UU ITE is a means to limit a person's freedom of opinion and expression based on its disparity of power relations between the reporter and reported.
"Many who file the report come from State Officials, Authority figures, and financiers," said Arsyad in a written statement today.
One example Arsyad gave was the Ervani case from Yogyakarta who was reported to the police by her husband's bosses after she wrote about the leadership capacity of the company's top brasses.
Other cases strengthening Arsyad's argument involving victims who are activists and journalists include Anindya Shabrina in Surabaya, who was reported to the police for writing a piece on the discussion's disbandment and a sexual harassment that was done by a police member at the Papua hostel in Surabaya.
Deni Erliana was reported by a housing developer for fighting for the rights of local residents upon obtaining clean water, while Zakki Amali was reported by the Semarang State University Rector for publishing news on the rector's alleged plagiarism.
Driven from similar cases mentioned above, Arsyad pushed for the UU ITE Law that was introduced back in 2008 to be dropped and that society, in general, must be given freedom to constitutionally express and voice their opinion.
Caesar Akbar, Jakarta A member of the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno campaign team, Sapto Waluyo, said his team has studied Prabowo's promise on halting imports once he gets elected as president in the 2019 presidential election.
Presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto once vowed to make Indonesia self-sufficient in the food sector which will further eliminate the needs to import food if he gets elected.
He suggested that issues regarding food commodities can be solved by pushing the country's food diversification accordingly to each region. Prabowo believes that not every region in Indonesia consumes rice daily.
"The proof is based on Budi Waseso's statement that Indonesia's rice supply is more than sufficient. However, everyone wants to import but not everyone eats rice," said Sapto in South Jakarta today, Nov. 7.
Sapto argues that other imported food products such as wheat can also be replaced. According to a study, wheat can be substituted with sorghum, despite its inferior quality compared to wheat.
"That's okay, people need to be trained the hardships of life, don't be spoiled to an extent in the meantime the country continues to pay for it," said Sapto who also urged to fight people who take financial advantage out of it.
The Prabowo camp member maintains that the most important element is to improve productivity through agriculture mechanization, which will further drive improvements into the sector such as the strategy once applied by former West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan.
Jakarta Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto's promise to stop the importation of fuel and food if he was elected next year have triggered a debate and criticism, particularly from the camp of incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.
Addressing a group of ulemas who had gathered on Monday to declare their support for the Gerindra Party chairman, Prabowo said, "I promise here that, if [I am elected as the next president], I will make Indonesia a self-sustaining country in terms of energy and food. We will not import anything," kompas.com reported.
He further noted that, should Indonesia stop importing fuel, the state would not have to send US$30 billion per annum abroad to pay for the energy source. He said Indonesia had adequate resources to meet public needs.
United Development Party (PPP) chairman Romahurmuziy lambasted Prabowo's campaign promise, saying no country in the world could survive without buying goods from other countries. He further said that Indonesia needed to import goods to support its industries, so that the country could also export goods.
"[Prabowo's statement] is questionable. It's an outright lie to the people," he said. "I think candidates should only convey realistic, measurable and provable promises," he added, as quoted by kompas.com.
Prabowo's campaign spokesman, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, took to his Twitter account @dahnilanzar to justify Prabowo's contentious statement.
In a series of tweets, Dahnil said Prabowo, if elected, would aim to ensure that the importation process in the country would be free of fraudulent practices, including manipulating statistics to justify imports.
"[Such manipulation] creates a situation of artificial scarcity [to justify imports] at the cost of local farmers," Dahnil said. He added that Prabowo promised to industrialize local agriculture to achieve food sustainability and to empower local farmers.
Responding to Prabowo's statement, Statistics Indonesia head Suhariyanto said the country should aim for sustainability and prioritize local materials over imported materials. "The country already has regulations on local materials. We should improve [the implementation]," he said, as quoted by news agency Antara.
According to Suhariyanto, Indonesia booked exports of $46.99 billion in the third quarter, up 8.33 percent from the corresponding period last year and 7.84 percent higher than in the second quarter.
However, the country also booked higher imports, amounting $49.72 billion in the third quarter, or a 10.25 percent increase from the same period last year. "We saw deficits in July and August but a surplus in August," Suhariyanto said. (vny/swd)
Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta Presidential contender Prabowo Subianto's attempt to highlight inequality in the country by joking about "tampang Boyolali" (the look of Boyolali people) has backfired.
A resident of Boyolali, Central Java, has reported Prabowo to the the police for making what he believes is an "offensive" remark about Boyolali people's faces.
The man, identified only as Dakun, filed the report at the Jakarta Police on Friday, kompas.com reported. He accused the former military general of spreading hate speech against the Boyolali people.
During the inauguration of his campaign post in Boyolali on Tuesday, Prabowo delivered a speech in which he highlighted the widening economic gap between the rich and poor in the country, particularly in Jakarta.
Prabowo said that, in Jakarta, there were a lot of fancy international hotels with names many people "probably can't even pronounce". Later, he said in jest to the crowd, "If you try to enter [these hotels], you will probably be kicked out. Your faces are not that of rich people, your faces are just that of Boyolali people. Right?"
The joke was met with laughter from the audience. But it failed to amuse netizens, especially those claiming to be proud Boyolali people.
The video of the speech was uploaded on YouTube by a user named Taufik Irvani. At the time of the writing, the video has garnered more than 30 thousand views.
On Friday, the hashtag #SaveMukaBoyolali (#SaveBoyolaliFace) was trending on Twitter in Indonesia, with Boyolali residents posting pictures of what Boyolali people look like.
Bayu Bintoro Setiawan, using the Twitter handle @bayubins, said in a tweet, "This is #TampangBoyolali, Pak Prabowo. I might not enter fancy hotels as often as you do (because of my poor face and wallet), but luckily I have never been kicked out like you said."
Another user, Evelline Andrya shared a picture of her with the iconic canals of Venice, Italy, as a background. She said, "I don't need to stay at the Ritz-Carlton Jakarta so long as I can go to Venice."
According to Statistics Indonesia (BPS), Boyolali regency has gradually decreased its poverty rate in the past few years. The poverty rate in 2017 was 11.96 percent, compared to 14.97 percent in 2012.
Boyolali is located near Surakarta, where President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo comes from. The city offers scenic views of Mount Merapi and Mount Merbabu, as well as a thriving coffee industry in Selo subdistrict. Aside from cultural traditions, Boyolali also hosts the annual Volcano Rock Festival. (ahw)
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta In a direct jab at vice-presidential candidate Sandiaga Uno campaign's running criticism of rising prices, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has claimed that fluctuating prices are "normal" and not necessarily indicative of how the economy is performing.
Jokowi posted a picture of himself making a blusukan (impromptu visit) to a traditional market in Bogor, West Java, on social media on Wednesday, saying that he had spoken to vegetable, tempeh and chicken merchants.
"The price of lettuce and green beans has gone down, while the price of avocados and chicken has gone up a little," he said. "This is in line with our macroeconomy. Inflation is stable, market prices are stable."
Ever since he was announced as Prabowo Subianto's running mate in August, Sandiaga has made numerous visits to traditional markets across the country, listening to complaints from emak-emak (housewives) about the rising price of staple foods.
During the visits, Sandiaga has made several controversial claims, including that tempeh was now sold in portions "as thin as credit cards" because of rising prices, that Rp 100,000 (US$6.58) was only enough to buy onions and chilies, and that the price of a portion of chicken rice was more expensive in Jakarta than in Singapore.
Jokowi's campaign team have previously denied Sandiaga's claims that prices have risen significantly, citing consistently low inflation rates since 2016. Campaign spokesperson Ace Hasan Syadzily even called Sandiaga's statement about chicken rice "a hoax." This is the first time Jokowi himself has addressed Sandiaga's statements.
Besides criticizing the state of the economy, Sandiaga has also used the visits to exude a playful image: on one visit, he wore a bunch of petai, a pungent vegetable, on his head; on another, he used a block of tempeh like a telephone.
Sandiaga's has attributed his comment in early September about the price of tempeh being so high that one seller had to cut tempeh as thin as a credit card to "Ibu Yuli" in Duren Sawit, East Jakarta. He has also repeated a claim by "Ibu Yani" of Sendiko Market in Semarang, Central Java, that tempeh pieces were wrapped in smaller packages last month. She called them "tempeh in a sachet", likening it to shampoo in a sachet.
Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita responded to Sandiaga's statement about the necessity to cut tempeh thinner, saying that when making tempeh chips, it should indeed be cut thin. (evi)
Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta On Oct. 20, up-and-coming comedian Tretan Muslim uploaded the latest episode of his comedic cooking series "Last Hope Kitchen" onto YouTube.
Ten days later, after accusations of blasphemy, widespread criticism and numerous death threats, Tretan and fellow comedian Coki Pardede announced that they were resigning from comedy group Majelis Lucu Indonesia and the Indonesian entertainment scene in general.
The video was meant to be funny. Some Muslims, however, failed to get the joke and were more insulted than amused.
In the video, Tretan, a Muslim, teamed up with Coki, a Christian, to cook pork with date syrup and honey at the series' usual setting of a building rooftop at night.
Tretan joked that he could hear the pork saying "Hell, hell, the fires of hell!" and the two speculated about whether adding dates, which Muslims are encouraged to consume when breaking the fast, would reduce the haram level of the pork, or turn pork tapeworms to mualaf (converts to Islam).
The pair later remarked that they perhaps should have also gotten some Zamzam water, which is considered holy in Islam, to add to the dish as well.
The video went viral after popular preacher Derry Sulaiman posted a short clip of it on his Instagram account with a message condemning the two comics and implying that the video was "blasphemous" and "insulted Islam."
Tretan and Coki, who eventually apologized for the video, escaped blasphemy charges, but they learned the hard way that joking about religion in Indonesia today is no trifling matter.
Indonesia's blasphemy law was introduced in 1965, but was only used to prosecute around 10 people between 1965 and 1998.
Since the Reform era, on the other hand, over 100 people have been convicted under the law, with 17 imprisoned in 2017 and 2018 alone, including former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, according to data from Amnesty International.
Tretan and Coki joined eccentric Islamic preacher Gus Miftah and former magician Deddy Corbuzier in a video uploaded to Deddy's YouTube channel on Monday, to further explain the thinking behind the pork video.
"We did not mean [to insult religion], but rather show that we can still make fun of each other in a tolerant way," Coki said.
Gus Miftah, who came under the spotlight in September because of a sermon he gave at a Bali nightclub, said that while Tretan and Coki may have been looking to satirize how some people overly revere religious symbols, their audience may have not understood that.
"Because the context is Indonesia, and Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, such a message will always result in problems," he said. "So even if your opinion was not wrong, maybe the place was wrong."
University of Indonesia (UI) communications expert Devie Rahmawati agreed that context was important, saying the rise of the internet was a factor in the apparent increase in "societal friction" on the matter.
"If I make a joke to my friends about their race or religion, they might find it funny, but if that joke reaches a larger audience that does not have an emotional connection with me, they might be offended."
Social media, however, is not the only factor. Stand-up comic Iyam Renzia said he felt that audiences had become increasingly sensitive to topics such as religion and race, and therefore, he rarely made religion-related jokes in highly-publicized settings.
"I'm careful about when and where I make the jokes; I look at the location and the situation first," he said, adding that at the off-air charity stand-up show for the victims of the Central Sulawesi earthquake and tsunami, "The audience members were asked not to record the show so I felt safe in making the jokes."
When he did make religious jokes, he said he made sure to stick to topics on which there was a general consensus.
"For example, I once made a joke about how NU [Nahdlatul Ulama] and Muhammadiyah followers used to argue about whether they should perform the qunut [supplication] during dawn prayer," he said. "The punchline was: Now they don't argue anymore because no one performs dawn prayers."
Hijab-wearing comedian Sakdiyah Maruf, who often uses religion-related material in her stand-up act, including jokes about terrorism, gender roles within Islam and her Arabic descent, said she used that material because religious practices and religious people had many flaws that were good targets for "introspection through comedy".
"There are so many things that are interesting to observe, for example how many people are quicker to believe sermons that are spread through WhatsApp groups over more authoritative books or clerics," she said. "That's funny!"
She said that for her, the difference between religious comedy and blasphemy was the target of the jokes. "To me [the line is] that the jokes should be reflections about religious life and not making fun of the religion itself," she said.
Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto has apologized for his remarks on "Boyolali faces" that has sparked people's outrage, especially in the Central Java regency of Boyolali.
In a short video uploaded by spokesman for the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign, Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, onto his Twitter account, Prabowo said he did not mean to offend Boyolali residents. Instead, he was only joking by saying that the faces of Boyolali people were not that of rich people.
"I did not mean it as a negative thing. If my remark offended some people, I apologize," said the Gerindra Party chairman. He added that he wanted to underline the country's inequality through his remark.
Prabowo has pledged on several occasions to address inequality and injustice in the country if elected president.
The controversial remark was made during his speech at the opening of his campaign team office in Boyolali last week. Prabowo said there were a lot of fancy international hotels with names many people "probably can't even pronounce" in Jakarta.
Later, he said: "If you try to enter [these hotels], you will probably be kicked out. Your faces are not that of rich people, your faces are just like that of the Boyolali people. Right?"
The audience laughed at the remark but a clip of the speech that was uploaded on YouTube went viral on Friday, eliciting negative reactions from many netizens. Thousands of Boyolali residents staged a protest on Sunday, demanding an apology from Prabowo.
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Boyolali Thousands of people took part in a protest in Boyolali, Central Java, on Sunday, in response to presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto's joking remark about "Boyolali faces."
Boyolali Regent Seno Samodra and several other local leaders joined the protest, including the deputy regent and members of the Regional Legislative Council.
Seno, who is a member of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and has previously expressed his support for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection bid, called on Prabowo to apologize for the remark.
"'Boyolali face' is a disparaging remark and it's understandable that Boyolali residents are angry and are protesting," he said during the demonstration. "Prabowo must apologize to the people of Boyolali."
Seno even went so far as to urge the protesters not to vote for Prabowo in the upcoming elections. "We don't have to insult Pak Prabowo, but let us agree not to choose a presidential candidate who insults Boyolali," he said. "Let us take a firm decision, not to vote for Prabowo. Agree?"
Prabowo made the comment during a speech centered on income inequality at the opening of a Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno campaign team office in Boyolali last Tuesday.
Prabowo said that, in Jakarta, there were a lot of fancy international hotels with names many people "probably can't even pronounce". Later, he joked, "If you try to enter [these hotels], you will probably be kicked out. Your faces are not those of rich people, your faces are just those of Boyolali people. Right?"
The audience laughed at the remark but a clip of the speech that was uploaded on YouTube went viral on Friday, eliciting negative reactions from many netizens, resulting in the hashtag #SaveMukaBoyolali (#SaveTheBoyolaliFace).
Prabowo himself expressed bemusement at the response to his remarks. "I am confused, if I joke around, it becomes an issue. Everything I do becomes an issue," he said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com. (kmt/dmr)
Just as the fallout from the infamous hoax perpetrated by Ratna Sarumpaet was starting to fade, opposition candidate Prabowo Subianto's campaign is now facing another PR disaster over a joke the Gerindra chairman made during a speech in Boyolali, Central Java.
The speech, delivered on Tuesday at the opening of a new campaign office in Boyolali and addressed to a crowd of his supporters, concerned the growing difficulties facing the poor in Indonesia.
At one point in the speech, Prabowo talked about how there were many places in Jakarta that the poor couldn't access, such as the luxurious five-star hotels. He told the crowd that he was sure most of them had probably never entered such hotels.
"Maybe if you did you'd get kicked out. After all, you don't look rich, you have the look of Boyolali people, right?"
As can be heard in the video, the crowd of supporters laughed at the joke and, by all accounts, nobody seemed offended at the time. But after video of the speech made its way online specifically a short clip of just the joke the general reaction from the people of Boyolali can best be summarized as pissed off.
The Boyolali backlash started boiling over on Friday. That's when the hashtag #SaveMukaBoyolali (#SaveTheFaceOfBoyolali) started trending in reaction to Prabowo's joke, marking tweets that took offense at his comment and clapping back at its implication that people from Boyolali look poor.
Dear Prabowo, though we are unworthy of The Ritz-Carlton @RitzCarlton, St. Regis @stregishotels, etc. But, we offer our hearts to Indonesia and the world, so that everyone could deeply feel the love we share.#SaveMukaBoyolali pic.twitter.com/4eh8SpCfNU Mimbar Orasi (@mimbar_orasi) November 2, 2018
PRABOWO IS THE BIG FAT MAN AND BIG MOUTH WITH LESS BRAIN !! WE SUPPORT MR. JOKOWI FOR PRESIDENT IN 2019. FOR PRABOWO, SINK IT !!!#SaveMukaBoyolali #SaveMukaBoyolali ????CoffeeholiquerzKonoha? (@coffeeholiquerz) November 3, 2018
This Indonesian President Candidate "Again" producing HOAX. Is it true that @KempinskiJKT, @GHyattJakarta, @Pullman_Jkt_CP, @RitzCarlton_ID will cast out people with a destitute outlook (or MUKA BOYOLALI)#SaveMukaBoyolali pic.twitter.com/ydBcj8OdvJ Dr. Fell #NemoMovement (@sugi_0706) November 2, 2018
But the backlash against Prabowo went much further than a viral meme. Also on Friday, the presidential candidate was reported to the Jakarta Police by a man named Dakun who claimed to be originally from Boyolali. Dakun accused Prabowo of violating Indonesia's controversial Law on Information and Electronic Transactions (UU ITE) which potentially criminalizes any speech deemed offensive online, as well as related hate speech statutes.
It's not clear yet whether the the police will act on Dakun's report (though it seems unlikely) but the anger from Boyolali's citizens was made very clear on Sunday when a crowd reportedly containing thousands of protesters (including Boyolali regent Seno Samodro) took to the streets to demand that Prabowo apologize.
Prabowo bikin own goal. #SaveMukaBoyolali pic.twitter.com/Svr5PaKRtS Ora Et Labora (@kurniawandkj) November 4, 2018
Despite their demands, Prabowo and his campaign have so far refused to apologize. An official statement from campaign spokesman Sriyanto Saputro said that an apology was not needed because it was not offensive in the context of his entire speech and none of the people in the audience at the time had been offended.
Prabowo, while not specifically addressing the backlash over his joke, made reference to it during a speech yesterday to Islamic scholars in Jakarta, saying that these days it was impossible to make jokes because they could easily be twisted into controversy.
Despite denying any wrongdoing, Prabowo's campaign said the former general was ready to face the law and would cooperate with any investigations into reports made against him.
This is the second major PR blow to Prabowo's campaign after one of his former senior campaigners, Ratna Sarumpaet, was found to have lied about being beaten by mysterious assailants. Photos of her swollen face in fact turned out to be the aftermath of a facial liposuction procedure she had undergone. Prabowo and his campaign were widely ridiculed for buying into Ratna's lie, which was quickly unraveled by police upon investigation.
With Prabowo already down by around 20 points against President Joko Widodo in most recent polling, this faux pas will likely make it even harder for him to catch up with the incumbent. Unless the Gerindra chairman gets a gamechanger in his favor, and soon, this election is going to be over long before April.
Chaidir Muhammad The uproar over a speech by presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in which he said that Boyolali people would not be able to get into fancy hotels because they have "Boyolali faces" is reminiscent of the blasphemy case involving former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.
Responding to similarities between the two cases, the Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno election campaign team (Badan Pemenangan Nasional, BPN) says that the two are not the same. BPN spokesperson Ferry Juliantono explained that the two cases of Prabowo and Purnama's videos going viral are completely different.
Juliantono said that the Purnama case was different because it involved religious issues. Purnama was said to have quoted from a passage in the Quran while he himself is not a Muslim.
"He was not from the Islamic religion so the response was that there had been an act of blasphemy", explained Juliantono as quoted by the Java Post on Monday October 5.
Juliantono continued by saying that in the case of the video of Prabowo's speech which was seen as belittling the dignity of Boyolali residents, there was no intention to offend the feelings of Boyolali residents.
It was instead only intended to as a parable about economic inequality which has become a national phenomenon. "In the speech there was no intent to offend, it was only intended to convey inequality", he said.
And this, according to Juliantono, distinguishes which remark is offensive and which remark isn't. The worst thing, he said, is that this time it was manipulated by certain parties with the aim of influencing the Boyolali community.
"There were parties which intentionally used this issue, we are asking that the issue not be manipulated for political interests", he asserted.
As has been reported, during the official opening of a Prabowo-Sandiaga election campaign office in Boyolali, Central Java, Prabowo said that Boyolali residents would not be able to get into a high-class hotel because they do not have the faces of rich people.
"Just to mention a few of the fancy international hotels which are the most expensive that are in Jakarta, there's the Ritz Charlton, the Waldorf Astoria. You probably couldn't even pronounce the names, and there are all sorts. I'm sure you've never gone into these hotels. Right? (Right answered the audience). And if you did go in, perhaps you would be kicked out. Perhaps your faces are not the faces of rich people. Your faces are like that of the Boyolali [people]", said Prabowo. (**/JPC)
Former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama a ethnic Chinese Christian ran afoul of conservative Islamic groups after a doctored video circulated on social media that appeared to depict him insulting the Quran, when in fact he was warning the public not to trust politicians who quote from the holy book to convince them not to vote for non-Muslims. In December 2016 Islamic groups with the financial and political backing of sections of the political elite mobilised hundreds of thousands in series of so-call "Defend Islam" actions in a successful effort to force police to charge Purnama with blasphemy. Purnama who had been the clear favourite to win subsequently lost the election to the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket and in May 2017 was convicted of blasphemy and jailed for two years.
A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta Messages and videos of alleged child kidnappers in action have recently spread like wildfire on social media and chat groups, stoking alarm among parents despite reports confirming that the so-called abductions were fake.
Ria Anggraeni, a 24-year-old housewife in North Jakarta, said the messages still unsettled her and had made her more protective of her 4-year-old son.
"Yes, that worried me. That's why every time my son goes out, I always watch over him," Ria told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
She said she made sure that her son played only around the house or at her neighbors, who are also her in-laws.
Ria added that she had received a warning message on WhatsApp and seen the video of an alleged kidnapping on Facebook, but had refrained from sharing them because she knew that they may not be authentic.
"They're a bit annoying but frightening at the same time. But on the bright side, they reminded parents to be extra careful watching over our children," she said, urging others to confirm the validity of any piece of information they come across on social media before sharing it.
Similar concerns were voiced by Syahrul, 35, an employee of a private company and resident of Penjaringan, North Jakarta. Like many parents, he said he frequently received message blasts and videos through WhatsApp or Instagram warning him against kidnappers.
One of them came in the form of an announcement claiming that child kidnapping cases in Greater Jakarta were on the rise. It even offered tips on how to prevent an abduction.
Other messages he has received include an amateur video of alleged kidnappers being dragged and beaten by residents and supposed CCTV footage of children being snatched off the streets.
One 48-second video that has been making the rounds on social media and WhatsApp chat groups shows a woman who looks to be kidnapping a child in Kedaung, South Tangerang, Banten.
However, the police, through Twitter account @DivHumas_Polri clarified that the video was not of a kidnapping, but a burglar taking a child hostage in Jambi some 10 years ago.
Syahrul, a father of a 7-year-old boy said he did not believe the messages he had received about alleged abductions, but conceded that some had been convincing enough for him to share on social media. "Nowadays, with social media people want to know more [and help spread such information easily]," he said.
Data from the Association of Indonesian Internet Providers (APJII) shows that in 2017, out of Indonesia's population of 262 million, 143,26 million had access to the internet.
Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono said the police had yet to uncover any cases of child kidnapping recently.
He also warned citizens not to instantly believe messages or videos of abductions they found on social media. "Some of [the videos] spread around on social media are of old cases from outside Jakarta," Argo told the Post on Tuesday.
He said that such broadcasts were made to stoke fear among people, especially parents. "If you see a video or read about something, you should check the date and the year," he said, adding that residents should refrain from sharing any information they receive before checking its validity.
It's only Tuesday but it's already shaping up to be another pretty bad week for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. After facing a barrage of criticism and protests from the people of Boyolali over a joke he made, another new poll indicates that the Gerindra chairman is not only failing to gain ground on President Joko Widodo but is actually losing more potential voters.
The Alvara Research Center released the results of their latest survey conducted from October 8-22 (so before the Boyolali controversy broke but after the embarrassing reveal of the hoax perpetrated by former Prabowo campaign leader Ratna Sarumpaet) and it puts President Jokowi and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin at 54.1% compared to 33.9% for Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno with 12% undecided.
The poll involved 1,781 respondents in 33 provinces throughout Indonesia, although Alvara noted they did not conduct the survey in Central Sulawesi due to the tsunami and earthquake that had completely devastated the region at that time.
In the last poll conducted by Alvara from August 12-18, Jokowi-Ma'ruf received 53.63% while Prabowo-Sandiaga were picked by 35.2%, equaling an increased lead of 1.77% for the incumbent
While that small uptick still lies with the poll's 2.37% margin of error, at best it indicates that voter sentiment didn't shift at all between mid-August and mid-October.
With the presidential election coming up in April, Prabowo doesn't have a lot of time to cut down on Jokowi's current massive lead, which has been consistently shown to be about around or over 20 points ahead of Prabowo across a number of polls by a number of survey groups.
And with scandals such as the controversy over his Boyolali joke last week seemingly showing a lack of strong communication and coordination by his campaign, Prabowo is going to need to make a lot of savvy moves as well as get some lucky breaks soon if he is to have any hope of not losing to Jokowi for a second time.
Jakarta The presence of social media has helped people connect with each other, including new friends, but in Depok, West Java, it also plays a big part in divorce.
As of October, the Depok Religious Court recorded 5,000 divorces since the beginning of the year, many of which were triggered by jealousy over social media interactions.
"The reasons for the divorces are various and one of the major factors is social media interaction. For example, the husband or wife was discovered interacting with strangers on social media. That's when the trouble began," court clerk Entoh Abdul Fatah said on Monday in Depok as quoted by kompas.com.
He added that the figure had increased from the same period last year, when there were only 4,000 cases.
Other factors that triggered divorce included economics and continual disagreements. "Most of the people who filed for divorce are ones who got married when they were still young, mostly at the age of 21 to 25," he added. (fac)
Riska Rahman, Jakarta Forty-year-old L, a Central Jakarta resident, wiped the tears that were streaming down her face as she recalled her experience being intimidated by an app-based lending firm.
"They terrorized me and my husband by calling and texting us every day, telling us to pay our debt in full immediately without even considering our condition," she said at the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) office on Sunday.
Her ordeal began in June after applying for a Rp 500,000 (US$33) loan through a smartphone-based lending app to help cover her family's daily expenses.
At first, she thought the app was a lifesaver because it only required her to fill out a form on her phone and upload her ID to apply for the loan. The money was transferred to her account just hours after she applied.
Although the app offered a higher interest rate of 20 percent every 14 days, L decided that borrowing money from the app, which she refused to name for fear of retribution, would be her best course of action as she needed the money immediately to pay for her children's school expenses as well as other needs.
She also applied for loans at eight other online lending apps. However, she never expected the convenience to turn into her worst nightmare in just a matter of days.
On the loan's due date, she received intimidating text messages and phone calls from debt collectors, telling her to pay her debt in full immediately. But coming from a mid-to-low income family, she was unable to fulfill the request as her debt had ballooned to more than Rp 15 million from the interest rate and fines.
"I tried to reason with them and asked them for lenience to pay my debt in installments, but they won't listen to me," L said. She added that the terror got so intense, she attempted to commit suicide. Fortunately, her doctors were able to save her.
SN, 30, described experiencing the same type of harassment after she failed to pay her Rp 1 million debt on time. The debt collectors even went as far as calling her supervisor at work.
"They told my boss that she was my guarantor, but I never submitted her contact details to the app," she said. Her boss later reported the incident to the company's human resources department, resulting in her suspension and triggering a severe depression.
L and SN are only two examples of debtors being intimidated on a daily basis. LBH Jakarta reported that since 2016, 283 people have come forward to report receiving verbal and even sexual harassment at the hands of debt collectors.
Many claimed that their relatives and co-workers had been terrorized as well, all to humiliate them into paying their debts, including interest and fines, even though they had never shared their contact details with the online lending firm, said LBH Jakarta lawyer Jeanny Sirait.
They said they have reported their cases to the Financial Services Authority (OJK). However, they said there has been no response from the OJK.
A similar case went viral on social media in June after Twitter user @anshariluthfi tweeted about her experience.
She described in a thread how online lending firm RupiahPlus had been able to gain access to her list of contacts, call logs and text messages after she downloaded its app onto her phone. The OJK later summoned the company's management and delayed its operational permit as a warning.
In July, the OJK announced that out of 227 unlicensed peer-to-peer (P2P) lending firms it had been able to track, at least half originated from China. To help tackle such cases, LBH Jakarta is opening a complaint center for victims of intimidation by app-based lending firms, Jeanny said.
"Hopefully, these complaints will lead to regulations to prevent the same thing from happening to other debtors," she said, adding that LBH Jakarta would also help victims process their complaints at the courts.
Jon Afrizal, Jambi Excessive damage to Jambi's forests as a result of destructive activities like illegal logging and mining, as well as land conversion, is causing routine flooding in the province, environmental group Warsi Indonesian Conservation Community (KKI Warsi) has warned.
The latest flooding caused by the deforestation occurred in Bungo regency, which saw the inundation of almost 770 houses inhabited by around 914 families last Saturday. According to Bungo Disaster Mitigation Agency, 20 families had to leave their homes because of the flooding.
KKI Warsi spokesperson Sukmareni Rizal revealed that Jambi province had only around 930,000 hectares of forest left, about 18 percent of its total 5.3 million ha area.
"The deforestation has triggered ecological disasters. When the rainy season comes, the water falling from the sky cannot be absorbed, that results in the flooding," Sukmareni said on Wednesday.
Illegal gold mining, moreover, has made things worse. KKI Warsi's data shows that such mining has damaged a total of 27,822 ha of forest, comprising 13,762 ha in Sarolangun regency, 9,966 ha in Merangin and the remaining 4,094 hectares in Bungo.
Head of the Sultan Thaha meteorological station, Addi Setiadi, said separately that light to moderate rain would fall in the province over the next three days. "Residents must be wary of possible disasters including flooding," Addi said. (vny)
Ganug Nugroho Adi, Surakarta The city-owned water company of Surakarta (PDAM Surakarta) has struggled to provide clean water for the Central Java city for the past two weeks as rivers are dry and tainted with factory waste.
The water company has stopped the operation of its water treatment plants, forcing residents to scramble to buy gallon water jugs as an alternative. As of Saturday, the distribution of water tanks from the water company was still scarce.
"On Wednesday, we dropped 30 tanks of clean water, today 50 tanks. No permanent solution has been found since the treatment plants ceased production," said PDAM Surakarta spokesperson Bayu Tunggul.
He said the company had received complaints from residents because of the stench and yellow-colored water running in their taps. He said it was getting more difficult to treat the river water that had receded due to the dry season.
"Water sources for Jurug and Jebres water plants are contaminated with textile waste in Samin River in Sukoharjo. Many factories dump their waste into the river. We have reported the issue to the mayor," said Bayu.
He said the dry season and pollution had been recurring problems, but this year was the worst, causing water treatment plants to stop producing. "Until now, 30 percent out of 59,000 customers are still deprived of clean water supplies," he said.
Sayekti, who lives in Jebres district, said his family had started to buy packaged water in gallons and bottles for daily use. "More daily expenses [to buy the packaged water]. [PDAM Surakarta] doesn't send water [trucks] every day, while we need it to cook, bathe and drink," he said.
Sayekti hoped the water firm could resolve the problem soon, otherwise it was going to be damning for many low-income residents in the area.
Aside from Bengawan Solo and Samin, Surakarta also gets water supply from Cokro well in Tulung district, located in the nearby regency of Klaten. "We are trying to revive a deep well in the Pedaringan area, in eastern Surakarta," said Bayu. (wit)
Jakarta University of Indonesia economist Faisal Basri has criticized the government's decision to renege on a planned increase of the cigarette excise by around 10 percent next year, saying the health cost triggered by smoking was far higher than the revenue collected from the tax.
Some health experts, who have called for a more drastic increase in the cigarette excise, estimate that 30 percent of the Healthcare and Social Security Agency's (BPJS Kesehatan) spending goes to curing tobacco-related diseases.
"BPJS Kesehatan's spending would be much lower if fewer people consumed cigarettes," said Faisal in Jakarta on Tuesday during a press conference together with the National Tobacco Control Commission (Komnas PT), as quoted by kontan.co.id.
He said cigarettes also ensnared poor people in poverty, as a survey showed that their spending on cigarettes (10 percent of their income) was second only to their spending on rice (27 percent).
"People spend six times more on cigarettes than on sources of protein," he said, adding that the contribution of cigarettes to state revenue was only equal to about 0.9 percent of the economy.
He underlined the impact of cigarettes on minors. Citing the results of a recent survey, he said cigarette consumption among underage people had increased from 7.2 percent in 2013 to 9.1 percent in 2018 and would negatively affect the country's human capital index (HCI).
"If we want to develop the economy based on high human capital, we need to eliminate any disruption of the efforts to improve human capital," he added. (bbn)
Jakarta The government has canceled its plan to increase the excise tax for tobacco and tobacco products in 2019 and has also postponed its plan to simplify the tax, which has met with mixed responses from industry and consumer groups.
The cancellation and postponement mean that the 2019 cigarette excise tax would not differ much from this year's tax. The government made the decision last Friday during a cabinet meeting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo chaired at Bogor Palace in West Java.
The National Kretek Preservation Committee (KNPK) welcomed the government's move for "accommodating" the aspirations of stakeholders in the tobacco industry.
"The industry has been under pressure because of increases in the tobacco excise tax over the last few years," said KNPK coordinator Azami Mohammad on Monday as reported by kontan.co.id.
Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) chairman Tulus Abadi criticized the government's decision to cancel the cigarette tax hike, saying that Jokowi had no vision on public health. "This means that the government continues to allow people to be dependent on cigarettes," he said as quoted by tempo.co.
Meanwhile, health experts have called for a more drastic increase in the tobacco tax to reduce smoking, including among school students.
The government had also initially planned to simplify the tobacco product categories and to increase the excise tax around 10 percent.
Different excise taxes are imposed on different tobacco products: a 10.9 percent tax on kretek (clove cigarettes), 13.5 percent on rokok putih (tobacco cigarettes) and 7.3 percent on handmade cigarettes. The tobacco tax contribution to this year's state revenue increased by around 10 percent. (bbn)
Dyaning Pangestika and Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta The number of early smokers and obese people, as well as chronic, non-infectious disease sufferers in Indonesia is increasing according to the country's latest basic health survey.
The 2018 Basic Health Survey (Riskesdas), published on Friday, revealed that the prevalence of Indonesian adults with weight problems had increased from 14.8 percent in 2013 to 21.8 percent this year.
In the survey, it was found that 31 percent of Indonesians aged 15 and above had central obesity, a term to describe excessive fat around the abdomen, which is defined as a girth of more than 80 centimeters for women and more than 90 cm for men.
This year's health survey also found that the prevalence of early smokers has risen as well. The prevalence of smokers aged 10 to 18 years old increased to 9.1 percent from 7.2 percent in 2013, even though the government has targeted a reduction in the number of early smokers to 5.2 percent in the 2015-2019 National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN).
The head of the Health Ministry's research and development department, Siswanto, said he was concerned about the steep increase in early smokers.
"Our survey found that smoking among teenagers is increasing. This is why educating them is very important," Siswanto said during the Riskesdas launch at the Health Ministry.
Siswanto went on to say that the government would try its best to reduce the prevalence of early smokers through an educational approach.
He also expected that an educational approach could be implemented for adult smokers, resulting in them changing their ways and curbing their smoking habits.
"Since children look up to adults, it is important for adults to set a proper example," he said.
Meanwhile, the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) has also increased. Cancer prevalence increased from 1.4 percent in 2013 to 1.8 percent, stroke prevalence increased to 10.9 percent from 7 percent, and that of chronic kidney disease increased from 6.9 to 8.5 percent.
The survey also revealed that based on blood glucose tests at health facilities nationwide, the prevalence of diabetes increased from 6.9 to 8.5 percent, while blood pressure test results from health facilities nationwide suggested that the prevalence of hypertension increased from 25.8 to 34.1 percent.
Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek said the ministry was currently focusing on how to reduce the prevalence of NCDs. She also urged Indonesians to maintain a healthy lifestyle given that most of the diseases were caused by unhealthy habits.
"We're eating too much rich food. A lot of the food in our country is too rich because it contains a high amount of salt and sugar," she said, adding that it would be quite a difficult task to overcome this issue since it involved lifestyle changes.
Despite the increasing number of health risks, the study also revealed that the government managed to reduce the prevalence of stunting from 37.2 to 30.2 percent.
However, although the prevalence of stunting in Indonesia has significantly decreased, Siswanto said it was still too high, the World Health Organization (WHO) standard is below 20 percent. Iing Mursalin, lead program manager for stunting at the National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty Alleviation (TNP2K), said the decrease in stunting coupled with the growing rate of obesity among adults showed that the country was prospering. He said at least 17 nations in the world were in the same phase as Indonesia.
"Obesity is not good. It leads to a higher number of people with non-communicable diseases, like diabetes or cardiovascular problems," he said.
Nutritionist Samuel Oentoro said obesity was not limited to well-off people only. "Since obesity happens because of unhealthy eating patterns, it doesn't exclusively occur among better-off people. If someone eats too much rice, for example, they will gain a lot of weight in a short time as well," Samuel told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Jakarta The Basic Health Survey (Riskesdas) 2018 released on Friday shows that the trend of weight problems in Indonesian adults has increased from 2007 to 2018.
The survey's latest figures for obesity, defined as a body mass index (BMI) of more than 27, showed a general increase from 14.8 percent of the population in 2013 to 21.8 percent this year.
The overweight population of adults aged 18 and above reached 13.6 percent this year, from 11.5 percent in 2013. This means that 35.4 percent of the roughly 260 million population, or about one in every three adults, have weight problems.
The survey, which involved 300,000 families or about 1.2 million people, found that about a third of Indonesians aged 15 and above had an unhealthy waist circumference.
This year's health survey found that 31 percent of this age group had "central obesity", or excessive fat around the stomach and abdomen. The indicator for central obesity is a waist circumference of more than 80 cm for women and more than 90 cm for men.
The Health Ministry highlighted weight problems in its statement that accompanied the survey's release. "We have to pay attention to the trend of increasing obesity from 2007 to 2018," it said. (evi)
Rights groups in Indonesia are alarmed by the recent spate of arrests involving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite (LGBT) community in the Muslim-majority Southeast Asian nation.
Amnesty International recorded at least four series of arrests and public humiliations of LGBT individuals across the country last months, in what appears to be an intensified crackdown by police and municipal police (Satpol PP).
The rights group said the latest arrest took place on in Padang, West Sumatra on Nov 4, when Satpol PP arrested ten people presumed to be lesbian women after one of them posted a photo of herself kissing and hugging her girlfriend on Facebook following a tip-off from members of the public.
The authorities said the ten arrested would be sent to a local affairs agency to undergo an "education programme". However, they did not elaborate on the details of the programme.
The latest arrest came after an earlier raid in neighbouring Lampung province where three transgender women were nabbed in an operation to "provide safety and maintain public order" in the city. Satpol PP had used a fire truck to hose the transgender women in a "mandatory bath", or Ghusl, Amnesty said.
"The humiliation of these three transgender women is appalling and constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment which is absolutely prohibited under international law," Amnesty International Indonesia's Executive Director Usman Hamid said in a statement.
"Raiding people and using a fire truck to hose them down in public are totally unacceptable, as is any other act of violence and discrimination against transgender women or other LGBTI people."
Another two lesbian women were also arrested by the municipal police in West Pasaman, West Sumatra on Oct 31 following the arrest of six people suspected of being transgender women earlier in the month.
According to Amnesty, the agency made the arrests to ensure the city was "clean" from the LGBT community with the head of Satpol PP saying "there was no place for LGBT people in the city." It said the authorities were justifying the arrest with the need to uphold a public order bylaw "regulates light sanctions for LGBT people."
"This vicious campaign against LGBT people in Lampung, Padang, West Pasaman and in Indonesia as a whole must immediately stop," Usman said.
"The police must protect the citizens of this country. They must also investigate the Satpol PP officers and bring perpetrators to justice, otherwise, they enable an increasingly worrying climate of impunity."
In October, two men who administered a Facebook group called "Facebook Gay Bandung Indonesia" with has over 3,000 members were charged under the country's Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law "for distributing electronic information which contain violation decency".
"This situation is alarming as the hateful abuses by law enforcement bodies against LGBT people are seen as a normal practice by many people in Indonesia," Usman Hamid said in a statement.
"Some people even encourage the police and Satpol PP to carry out the arrests. The central government must take action to stop the crackdowns and order local administration to repeal all discriminatory regulations.
"Police officers should be instructed to protect LGBT people who were persecuted for their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, which are innate parts of a person's identity and should not be criminalized," he added.
According to Human Rights Watch, the arrests were part of a wider national trend observed in the past three years where the vast archipelago has been engulfed by a government-driven "moral panic about gender and sexuality.
HRW pointed out that politicians, government officials and state offices have issued anti-LGBT statements suggesting criminalisation and "cures" for homosexuality, and censorship of things related to the community.
The trend, HRW said, points back to an incident in Jan 2016 in which Indonesia's higher education minister Mohammed Nasir tweeted that he wanted to ban all LGBT student groups from university campuses.
In roughly two months, dozens of public officials followed suit, adding to public denouncements of the LGBT group.
Defence minister Ryamizard Ryacudu later likened gay and trans rights activism to "proxy war" waged by foreign elements, saying the LGBT phenomenon was more dangerous than a nuclear attack.
In wake of the open ciriticisms against the LGBT group, police mounted raids on Saunas nightclubs, hotel room, and private homes over suspicions that gay or trans people were in the buildings.
HRW said Islamic militants would often accompany the police on the raids. In last year, at least 300 people were arrested due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The arrests last year included the widely-reported case of two men being publicly flogged for allegedly having sex in the conservative Aceh province, where the local government enforces strict Sharia law.
"LGBT people in Indonesia have historically lived with intermittent bouts of animosity, but tolerant social attitudes provided a shield that typically prevented outright violence," Kyle Knight, researcher of the watchdog's LGBT rights programme, said in a statement.
Pariaman The Pariaman municipal government (Pemkot) in West Sumatra will be taking more serious measures against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people in the city by using customary law. The punishments could range from paying a fine in the form of cement or a buffalo.
"In order to reach an agreement, [we] must first coordinate with stakeholders such as the LKAAM [Association of Minangkabau Customary Law Councils], village heads, the LPM [Community Empowerment Foundation} and the MUI [Indonesia Ulama Council], to sit down together and talk about what measures to take against LGBT", said Pariaman Deputy May Mardison Mahyuddin as quoted by Detik's covesia.com on Wednesday November 7.
Mahyuddin said that all elements of society would be involved including the Polri (national police) and the TNI (Indonesian military) as well as Satpol PP (Public Order Agency) officers as the enforces of municipal bylaws.
"Indeed it is not yet included in any Pariaman City bylaw but the Pariaman municipal government is firm that it will take action against perpetrators of LGBT if they are found", he said.
In addition to enacting regulations, in order to take measures against social illnesses (pekat) the municipal government will draft a special budget for the eradication of maksiat [immorality, the violation of God's law] and perpetrators of LGBT.
Mahyuddin appealed to all village elders to empower the Bhabinkamtibmas [police security and public order supervisory officers] in their villages to "totally wipe out" perpetrators of immorality in the city of Tabuik [referring to Pariaman traditional culture].
With regard to the bylaw, the municipal government and the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) will evaluate and insert articles and special sanctions into the laws related to perpetrators of LGBT.
DPRD Pariaman Deputy Speaker Fitri Nora meanwhile said that although the city does not have any specific articles in its bylaws to regulate sanctions against perpetrators of LGBT, customary and traditional sanctions and punishments are already being enforced.
"Customary punishments are actually harsher in acting against perpetrators of LGBT because customary law can provide a deterrent effect against what they are doing", he explained.
One such example of customary law, he explained, is paying a fine in the form of cement [to build something for the village] or a buffalo as well as being ostracised or even expelled from the village or ward.
Furthermore, he said, all elements of society in Pariaman must sit down together and talk about the enforcement of these regulations and punishments. "If all of this is none, God willing the perpetrators of deviant [behaviour] will disappear by themselves", he said in closing.
Marlinda Oktavia Erwanti, Jakarta House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Speaker Hidayat Nur Wahid (HNW) is calling on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to issue a regulation on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) in the hope that in will end the polemic on LGBT in Indonesia.
"As I conveyed to Pak Jokowi before, the state should immediately draft a regulation or support the DPR so it can immediately draft a regulation on this issue, in order to avoid a prolonged and drawn out polemic", said Wahid in a written statement on Tuesday November 6.
Wahid said that the LGBT issue is still a problem that is specific to Indonesia. According to Wahid, as a constitutional state, Indonesia should have a special regulation which regulates LGBT practices.
Wahid then gave the example of the Go-Jek ride-hailing app employee who expressed support for LGBT practices which then went viral and created a stir on social media. He believes that this case has continued to become a polemic because there is no special regulation on LGBT in Indonesia.
Yet, according to Wahid, although there are no legal provisions which specifically prohibit LGBT in Indonesia, this doesn't mean that the state can just allow the practice to continue. Particularly given that the nation is based on the principles of the state ideology Pancasila.
"The MK [Constitutional Court] threw the ball in the DPR's court. But the DPR has yet to finish drafting the legal regulations. However, in other words, just because there is no definitive legal regulations, it doesn't mean that Indonesia has a legal vacuum", he said.
"If we refer to Pancasila, it is very clear isn't it, the first principle is 'Belief in the one and only God'. What then is God, in other words, does he legitimise the deviation of LGBT? Of course not" said Wahid.
The deputy chairperson of the Islamic based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) explained his reasons for pushing the government to immediately issue a regulation prohibiting LGBT: because he does not want LGBT practices to become a social trend in the future.
"Lest this become a trend, as if it's allowed, [as if] there's no problem, then others will do the same thing", he said.
Moreover, said Wahid, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has said that LGBT represents a proxy war against Indonesia which could threaten national security.
"So the state must have a role, safeguarding the nation's citizens and the state from the proxy war that is LGBT", concluded Wahid. (mae/tor)
Padang Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officials in Padang, West Sumatra, have hunted down and arrested 10 women for being suspected lesbians after they uploaded photographs containing homosexual content on their Facebook account.
"Every day we receive reports from the community about the LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] issue. Because of this, in order to follow up on these reports, we carry out investigations and reconnaissance", said Satpol PP head Yadrison when asked for confirmation on a quote carried by Detik.com on the website covesia.com on Monday November 5.
Yadrison explained that the 10 suspected lesbians were arrested based information obtained from a social media network. The Satpol PP intel [intelligence] team then succeeded in discovering their location.
"On one of their Facebook accounts in several photos which were uploaded by the owner of the account there are scenes where the women are cuddling and kissing. It was based on these findings that officers ended up carrying out reconnaissance and succeeded in discovering their identity and location from the uploading of the improper (senonoh) photos", said Yadrison.
Yadrison said that in order to find them, the members of his team spent two days searching the Padang City area until finally on Friday evening the officials saw the couple depicted in the Facebook photos at a cafe in the Pondok area of South Padang sub-district.
"It is suspected that they also work in the cafe. Unfortunately however, when we wanted to make the arrest they succeeded in eluding the officer's ambush", he said.
Yadrison continued by saying that based on the development of data in the field the officers finally succeed in discovering their place of residence.
But it was only yesterday, on the afternoon of Sunday November 4, that his officers succeed in arresting five of the women in a single room at a boarding house in the Cendana Mata Air area of South Padang sub-district.
"Based on the data collected by the officers, it was discovered that their initials were MW (23) and their partner FR (24) and RS (26) with their partner NP (25), and one other women with the initials ZS (23). Meanwhile based on information and confessions [obtained from] them, officers also succeeded in arresting five more women in the Simpang Haru area. They had the initials NL (23), ZL (25), RS (28), FD (24) and Al (31) and were at a boarding house in that area. The raid was carried out by officers at around 8am", explained Yadrison.
Yadrison revealed that the women who were netted in the operation admitted that they were lesbians.
"As follow up, we will send the 10 women to the Social Services Office so that they can receive guidance, and we hope that society will cooperate in safeguarding the social interactions of our children. Because it is the people they are associating with that influence the attitudes and mentality of our children", said Yadrison in conclusion. (asp/asp)
Three transwomen in the Indonesian province of Lampung were reportedly hosed down by authorities on Friday evening in yet another instance of extrajudicial punishment against the oft-persecuted gender minority.
As reported by VOA Indonesia yesterday, officers from the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) of Pesisir Barat Regency apprehended the three waria (an Indonesian portmanteau combining the local words for female and male) at a local tourism spot.
They were then hosed down using water from a fire truck, with the Satpol PP officers reportedly saying it was a form of "mandi wajib", an Islamic bathing ritual required to cleanse one off of Junub, the state of ritual impurity after sexual intercourse or seminal discharge.
LBH Masyarakat (Community Legal Aid Foundation) condemned the Satpol PP officers' action towards the waria as having absolutely no legal basis.
"Is there [any law justifying] such an inhumane act, hosing down people at night using a firetruck hose? Is there any punishment like that in the regional bylaw? No there isn't," LBH Masyarakat public advocate Naila Rizki said.
Photos of the hosing down were taken by the Satpol PP officers and posted online, as shared by Human Rights Watch Indonesia Researcher Andreas Harsono on Twitter.
"[The officers'] intention was to torture people, demean them.
So [the officers'] goal is not to enforce the law but to uphold their own version of morality," Naila said.
In light of this incident, an LGBT advocacy group in Lampung is urging the authorities to not persecute gender and sexual minorities.
"My message to the authorities, be it the police, Satpol PP, military, and the like, please see us LGBT as human beings. Regardless of our sexual orientation, we have the same rights as all Indonesian citizens," said an anonymous LGBT activist in Lampung.
There have been no reports of charges being pressed against the Satpol PP officers over the incident.
The waria community have frequently become victims of inhumane persecution in Indonesia's Aceh province the only region in the country with special autonomy to implement sharia law and the only region to have outlawed homosexuality and "sexual deviance".
Earlier this year, Aceh's religious police rounded up a dozen waria and forcefully shaved their heads and gave them men's clothing during what they termed a "community sickness operation."
Another high profile case of persecution against waria occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan this year in Cianjur, West Java, in which the local police, accompanied members of hardline Islamic groups to physically restrain and harass transwomen in an attempt to force them to be more masculine.
Human Rights Watch recently released a report highlighting a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in Indonesia. In addition to vigilante acts, it has also taken the form of state-sponsored persecution involving a number of anti-LGBT statements and policies made by government officials in the last few weeks.
Jeka Kampai, Padang All elements of Payakumbuh City in West Sumatra have declared war on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people and other types of social illnesses.
The declaration, which was attended by thousands of people, took place at the Race Horse Park in Kubu Gadang, North Payakumbuh sub-district on the morning of Monday November 5.
Most of those present were from the younger generation or from age groups which are venerable to being contaminated by deviant behaviour.
Payakumbuh Mayor Riza Falepi said that following the declaration, all parts of Payakumbuh City will prohibit gambling, alcohol, free sex, LGBT, narcotics and other immoral acts.
"Free sex, gambling, narcotics, alcohol and LGBT are a Western culture which has been imported from overseas by the destroyers of Indonesia's children and grandchildren. This is a hidden attack which assaults the mentality of the nation's children. If their mentality is destroyed young children will no longer have the idealism to build the nation. So this nation's ideals will disappear and the NKRI [Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] that we love will be destroyed", said Falepi during the declaration.
Falepi claimed that he was ready to lead the war on sin and wickedness. The Payakumbuh municipal government will soon update the Perda [by-law] on Social Illnesses. So in the future, there will be a strong legal bases and regulations to prosecute perpetrators.
"So later those who commit maksiat [immorality, violate God's law] will not just be considered to have committed a tipiring (tindak pidana ringan, misdemeanor) but will be subject to criminal punishments", he said.
Related to this, those who sell, drink and invite others to parties where alcohol is consumed will face criminal prosecution. Similar actions will be taken against perpetrators of free sex and LGBT people.
The declaration, which started at 8am, began with speeches by local Payakumbuh public figures and leaders of social organisations. Following this, the declaration was read out to the crowd.
After the declaration, the public figures signed their names on a 2x5 metre piece of cloth. This represented a public petition rejecting all forms of LGBT, narcotics, free sex, gambling, alcohol and other immoral acts.
After the signing of the agreement, the crowd held a long-march around the city. (rvk/asp)
Rio Tuasikal Raids conducted without legal grounds have again occurred against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. Three transgender women in Lampung province, North Sumatra, were hosed down with water from a fire truck in an action which has been slammed as "inhuman" and "arbitrary".
The raid was carried out by Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers in West Pesisir Barat regency in Lampung on the evening of Friday November 2. The officers arrested the three who were accused of being LGBT at a tourist area in Labuhan Jukung.
They then hosed them down with water from a fire truck (damkar) in what was referred to as "mandi wajib" an Islamic bathing ritual required to cleanse impurity after sex or seminal discharge.
The Community Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Masyarakat) has condemned the Satpol PP's actions because they had no legal basis.
"If there is one article that was violated just try and find the criminal provision. [Conversely] did they [the Satpol PP] commit an inhuman act by hosing down a parson at night with water from a fire truck? Are there sanctions such as this in the Perda [by-laws]? There isn't", asserted LBH Masyarakat public defender Naila Rizki.
During the raid, the officers took photographs of the three transgender women which were then disseminated on Lampung social media. In practical terms, the three became targets.
"What kind of guidance is this? Is guidance like that? Of course not. Meaning that one, they misused their authority. Second, that they violated the law. And third, their aim was indeed to torture a person, debase the dignity of a person. So their aim was not upholding a Perda but their version of morality", asserted Rizki.
LGBT support groups in Lampung have called on local officials to respect the rights of all people as citizens.
"My message to government officials, whether they be police, Satpol PP, the TNI [Indonesian military] and the like, please see us, LGBT people as human beings. Regardless of our different (sexual) orientation, we have the same rights as other Indonesian citizens", said an LGBT community activist who wished to remain anonymous.
Raids against LGBT groups have continued throughout 2018 despite having no legal basis. In early October police raided what they called a "gay party" in Jakarta and paraded the faces of the men on television. Meanwhile in late October a beauty contest to promote education about HIV/AIDS in Bali was cancelled due to objections by anti-LGBT groups.
In 2017 LBH Masyarakat recorded 973 cases of people falling victim to stigmatisation, discrimination and violence based on their sexual orientation. As many as 715 of these involved transgender people.
Out of these cases, there were 69 which involved discrimination in the form of persecution, criminalisation, violations of the right to education, the forcible breaking up of events and other human rights violations and violence.
A Saiful Mujani Research & Consulting (SMRC) survey conducted in January found that 81.5 percent of Indonesians believe that gay and lesbian "acts" are prohibited by religion. Only 58.3 percent of respondents however admitted that they knew what LGBT was. (rt)
Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has detained House of Representatives deputy speaker and senior National Mandate Party (PAN) politician Taufik Kurniawan for alleged bribery in relation to the allocation of special allocation funds (DAK) in the 2016 fiscal year.
"I will follow and respect the legal process at the KPK," Taufik told journalists upon exiting the KPK headquarters in Jakarta on Friday.
Taufik was detained after undergoing a nine-hour questioning session at the antigraft body's building. He unexpectedly arrived at the building on Friday at around 9 a.m., a day after he failed to answer the KPK's second summons for questioning as a suspect in the case.
On Thursday, the lawmaker's lawyer said Taufik could not answer the summons on Thursday because of a prior commitment in his electoral district, and requested the questioning be rescheduled to Nov. 8.
The antigraft body spokesman Febri Diansyah said investigators would detain Taufik at the KPK's detention center in Jakarta.
Taufik is suspected of accepting bribes of at least Rp 3.65 billion (US$244,929) in 2016 from Muhamad Yahya Fuad, then regent of Kebumen in Central Java, in relation to the DAK allocation for the regency. Yahya was sentenced to four years behind bars in a related case.
Taufik is the second House leader to have been accused of bribery during President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's tenure after former speaker and Golkar Party politician Setya Novanto was found guilty of taking bribes in relation to the e-ID project. (swd)
M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta The senior investigator of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) Novel Baswedan demanded that the terror against KPK officials be legally processed. He said that it had never been investigated, even rarely revealed to the public.
"Therefore, I urge it to be brought to the legal process," Novel said in his office, Jakarta, Thursday, November 1.
Novel is one of the KPK officials who experienced the terror. He was splashed with acid water on April 11, 2017, near his residence in North Jakarta. Due to the attack, his left eye is almost blind. The perpetrators have yet to be caught thus far.
According to Novel, many KPK officials experienced similar things, their cars splashed with acid water, kidnapped and threatened to be killed.
The KPK senior investigation asked President Jokowi to help in revealing the case. He also urged the KPK leaders to take legal action to resolve the terror.
Novel Baswedan considered that revealing the terror case against the corruption eradication officials is as important as eradicating the corruption itself. He said the completion of the terror case was important so that the case would not reoccur.
It has been just about 18 months since the acid attack that scarred and partially blinded Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan, and police still say they have no suspects or leads on the assailants.
Novel, who returned to work for the KPK in July after spending many months recovering from the attack in Singapore, has long insinuated that there were underhanded reasons behind the police's inability (or unwillingness) to solve his case, but today he made his most direct comments yet implying that President Joko Widodo himself had failed to keep the investigation going.
Speaking at an event at KPK headquarters in Jakarta today, Novel said he could at least understand if the police were afraid to properly investigate the case as they were more vulnerable to manipulation, political or otherwise.
But Novel said that it was for that very reason that Jokowi, as the nation's leader, had to play a role in pushing the investigation forward.
"The question is whether or not the president is afraid of uncovering the truth? If the President is afraid to uncover this, I am very sad," Novel said as quoted by Kompas.
The KPK senior investigator said that was because the president was the greatest hope for and leader of the Indonesian people.
Whether or not Jokowi has played any role in the police's so-far unsuccessful investigation into the attack on Novel, it certainly stands as one of the blackest marks on his administration's anti-corruption record.
Indeed, Novel's investigation has now become a point of contention in the 2019 presidential election after Jokowi's rival candidate, Prabowo Subianto, promised to investigate and resolve the acid attack case in 3 months if elected by forming a new fact finding team.
The attack on Novel took place early on the morning of April 11, 2017, when the KPK investigator was splashed with hydrochloric acid in the face by two people on a motorcycle as he was leaving a mosque near his home in Jakarta.
The attack occurred while Novel and the KPK were in the midst of of one of their biggest investigations ever after they accused dozens of high-level politicians of taking part in a scheme to rob the state of US$170 million worth of misappropriated funds from the program for the country's new e-KTP electronic ID cards (which led to the dramatic arrest of former House Speaker Setya Novanto).
Novel spent many months recovering from the attack, which left him blind in his left eye. Unbowed despite his injuries, he returned to work at the KPK in July.
Although police claim they are still working on Novel's case, they have yet to identify either of his assailants nor have they announced any new developments in the case for many months.
Although Jokowi's administration has a generally good reputation for not being mired in the corruption endemic to Indonesian politics, lingering questions about the attack on Novel as well as a recent scandal involving bribery accusations against National Police Chief Tito Karnavian has put Jokowi's campaign on the defensive. Prabowo's camp may have seen that as the opening they needed to press their case that the former general could do a better job on corruption than the current administration.
Syafiul Hadi, Rosseno Aji, Jakarta Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) political corruption division coordinator Donal Fariz questioned the government's commitment upon solving the terror attack experienced by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan.
Donal Fariz maintained that the government failed to show any meaningful decisions upon solving the case. "There is a large gap between the verbal commitment and the concrete action," Donal asserted on Thursday, November 1.
He maintained that the government should establish a special team tasked to investigate the case that has been in limbo for one and a half years. "The government should form a joint fact-finding team (TGPF). That would be one proof of the government's seriousness," he said.
Today marks the 500th day after Novel Baswedan was attacked with liquid acid on April 11, 2017, which took place in the vicinity of his home when the senior investigator was walking home from a nearby mosque.
The police investigation had initially arrested a number of people suspected to be the attackers but was eventually released due to the lack of evidence. Police had also issued two sketches of the suspects to no avail.
"I suspect what complicates the case isn't the evidence but the involvement of the suspects behind the attack that is much more complicated," said Donal Fariz, who also urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to evaluate police's work.
M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta Employees of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) will hold a discussion today upon commemorating the 500-days of the attack against KPK investigator Novel Baswedan which has passed without shedding any light upon the case.
The commemoration was held as a symbolic move to push President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to solve the numerous terror cases against justice workers that include the late Munir Said Thalib and Novel Baswedan.
"We hope the president would give his utmost attention upon solving the attack made against activists of justice in Indonesia and guarantee that the cases will be rightfully handled," said KPK workers' Union Head Yudi Purnomo in a written statement on Wednesday.
Yudi explained that Novel is not the only KPK employee that had received numerous terror threats and revealed at least 10 instances that targeted KPK employees. The discussion entitled #500HariDibiarkanButa or "500 days left in the dark" will be held at the KPK supporting building today on November 1.
Vindry Florentin, Jakarta The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, Agus Maftuh Abegebriel, confirmed the arrest of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab by Saudi Arabia security forces in Mecca.
The arrest was conducted by the Mecca Police who visited Rizieq's residence on November 5, at 08:00 local time.
"The visit was based on the information about a black flag that resembled the flag of an extremist movement put on the wall in Rizieq's house," he said, Wednesday, November 7. The police briefly examined Rizieq's residence at that time.
Agus said, the Arab government strongly prohibits all forms of jargon, labels, attributes, and symbols of anything that led to terrorism such as ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyyah. It also monitors the social media activities. The IT violation related to terrorism is considered a serious crime.
In the afternoon, at around 4:00 local time, the Mecca Police, the general intelligence Mabahis Ammah, and the General Investigation Directorate took Rizieq to the police station. "Rizieq Shihab was later detained by the Mecca regional police for the investigation process," he said.
After being examined, Rizieq was taken to the Mansyuriah Resort Police of Mecca on Tuesday, November 6, at around 16:00. At 20:00, accompanied by Indonesian Consulate staff, Rizieq Shihab was released on bail by the Mecca Police.
Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta Saudi Arabian security authorities have questioned Rizieq Shihab, a firebrand cleric who has been on the run in the country, over reports of the installation of an Islamist flag at his house in Mecca, the Foreign Ministry has said.
Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel said he received a report on the detention of the cleric on Monday.
"Our staff eventually informed that Mecca police went to Rizieq's house on Monday morning to investigate the allegation of the installation of a black flag that resembles the flag of Islamist extremist groups, on the rear side of his house," Agus said in a statement on Wednesday.
Later that afternoon, Mecca Police and Saudi Arabia's General Investigation Directorate took Rizieq in for questioning at a nearby police station, where he was eventually detained.
Indonesia's representative office in Jeddah dispatched staff to provide legal assistance to Rizieq. Saudi authorities released Rizieq on bail at around 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia has been banning the installation of flags and other materials resembling those used by extremist groups, including the Islamic State group.
The firebrand cleric and leader of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) has been in Saudi Arabia for more than a year. In September, the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh said Rizieq had overstayed his visa in the country, according to a statement issued responding to complaints from his supporters who claimed that restrictions had been imposed on the activities of the FPI leader in Mecca.
Rizieq had been charged by Indonesian police for allegedly violating the 2008 Pornography Law in May 2017. By that time, Rizieq had fled to Saudi Arabia and refused to return to Indonesia, despite several police summonses. The police dropped the case in June, citing a lack of evidence.
Friski Riana, Jakarta Youth organization Pemuda Pancasila (Pancasila Youths/PP) met Monday with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo at Merdeka Palace on Monday, November 5.
Yapto Soerjosoemarno, the chair of Pemuda Pancasila, said his organization offered assistance to President Jokowi during the meeting.
"We offer [assistance] in several aspects, maybe if he [Jokowi] is pleased, through one of his departments, one of his ministers, [the government] can cooperate with us," Yapto said after the meeting.
Yapto said his organization was set to elaborate on the assistance should the government ask for it. He added the assistance could be rendered in any aspect, including economy, social affairs, politics, ideology, security and defense.
Yapto explained his organization was home to cadres that could potentially become experts to help the government accelerate the ongoing development.
"I have many kinds of members. For example, PP members are said to be bastards, jerks, criminals, it was like that, right? In your mind they were all like that, right?" he said.
"Instead, I say to the officials, the people we have gathered are the people you consider as bastards, but they look for prayer mats, look for the truth," he said.
Yapto said if there were PP members who became robbers, his organization could help them by involving them in security activities so that they have no time for robberies.
A huge protest march in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday brought thousands of Muslims to the streets waving black flags emblazoned with the shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith ("There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger").
The demonstrators were angry about the burning of a flag used by a banned Islamic supremacy organization last month because that flag also incorporated the shahada.
The Associated Press judged Friday's demonstrations "the biggest of scattered protests" since the flag burning, which was widely denounced by Muslims as an act of blasphemy even though it was carried out by another Muslim group.
The flag in question was linked with Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT), a worldwide Islamic supremacist group with global "caliphate" ambitions and a fundamentalist philosophy similar to the Islamic State, although Hizb ut-Tahrir leaders insist they are a legitimate political party that interprets the concept of "jihad" non-violently.
The group has a habit of blaming Western nations for causing terrorism and is viewed as extreme even by nations that came up short of banning it outright. It has been banned by Muslim nations such as Indonesia and Pakistan on the grounds that it radicalizes youth and works to overthrow individual governments so a global Islamic caliphate can be established.
On October 22, a group of militant Islamic youth called Banser affiliated with Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, distributed a viral video that showed group members wearing the uniforms of a "civilian security unit" burning the Hizb ut-Tahrir flag at a rally. The video depicted rally attendees bursting into the Banser marching song as the HT flag caught fire.
Indonesians, Muslim organizations, and government officials swiftly criticized the video on a variety of grounds, including its deliberately provocative nature and the detail that the flag might not actually have belonged to Hizb ut-Tahrir. The strongest and most widespread response was that no matter whose flag it was or what message the Banser youth intended to send by burning it, the flag incorporated the shahada so its destruction was an act of blasphemy.
Muslim groups have held protests ever since, frequently involving flags that display the Islamic creed. Some of these protests were organized by the same groups that persecuted (and ultimately managed to prosecute) the once-popular Christian governor of Jakarta, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, for blasphemy. Acts of blasphemy against any religion are technically illegal in Indonesia, although "prosecutions overwhelmingly target religious minorities," as the Associated Press delicately put it on Friday.
The administration of President Joko Widodo faces increasing pressure from Muslim groups to take action against the flag burners, with a presidential election looming in April.
Much of the heat has been focused on the Indonesian security minister, who uses the single name Wiranto. Wiranto met with protest leaders on Friday and pointed out that his office has a great deal on its plate at the moment, as it is struggling to deal with a deadly plane crash from earlier this week, along with recent natural disasters.
The security minister said protests against the flag burning will not be banned by the government but called for calm and orderly demonstrations.
"They must not force their will, make people afraid, or disturb public order," he said of the protesters. "Moreover, our nation is currently in mourning after a series of disasters and a plane crash. They should help create peace, even the international community gives a lot of sympathy, empathy, and assistance."
"This kind of rally is just a waste of energy and is no longer relevant because religious leaders, ulema and the leaders of Muslim organizations have called for peace and for people to let the police carry out their investigation," Wiranto added.
According to the Jakarta Post, three suspects have been identified in the flag burning incident. They presently face possible three-week jail sentences on charges of disrupting a public gathering, but evidently there are no plans to file blasphemy charges against them.
Jakarta A planned rally to protest the recent burning of a black flag bearing an Islamic creed is a waste of energy and not relevant, a senior government official has said.
The statement follows the announcement of a plan by the National Movement to Safeguard Ulema (GNPF-U) and 212 Alumni groups to take to the streets on Friday for a "Aksi Bela Tauhid 211" march from Istiqlal Mosque to the State Palace in Jakarta.
"This kind of rally is just a waste of energy and is no longer relevant because religious leaders, ulema and the leaders of Muslim organizations have called for peace and for people to let the police carry out their investigation," Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto said at his office in Jakarta on Thursday.
However, Wiranto emphasized that the government did not prohibit people from staging a protest, as long as they complied with the law and did not disturb public order.
Through the rally, the groups plan to demand the government disband Nahdlatul Ulama's (NU) the Guardian Troops of Ansor (Banser) youth wing. Banser members were allegedly involved in a flag-burning incident during National Santri Day celebrations in Garut, West Java, on Oct. 22.
The groups believe the actions of the Banser members who reportedly burned the flag because they thought it was the flag of outlawed Muslim group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) was unacceptable and an insult to all Muslims.
West Java Police have named three suspects from the incident. Two are the alleged flag burners, while the third is the one who allegedly raised the flag at the event. Under Article 174 of the Criminal Code, the three suspects face possible sentences of three weeks in jail for disrupting a public gathering.
With the suspects now under police investigation, National Police deputy chief Comr. Gen. Ari Dono Sukamto questioned the intention behind the rally.
"[We] are conducting the legal process [for the case]. If [the groups] still want to stage a protest, that will raise questions," Ari said. "We suggest that those who are from outside Jakarta not come to the city [for the protest]. We also hope that the protesters in Jakarta maintain public order," Ari said.
Telly Nathalia, Jakarta The government has called for unity and asked the nation not to succumb to provocations by the banned mass organization Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia.
This followed a meeting between Chief Security Minister Wiranto and related government ministries and institutions in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss a planned protest rally against the burning of the organization's flag by members of Banser, the youth wing of Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, at a gathering in Garut, West Java, last month.
The flag displays the tawhid, or Islamic declaration of the Oneness of God, written in Arabic script in white against a black background, or sometimes with the colors reversed.
West Java Police confirmed that members of Banser burned a Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) flag but said the investigation was still ongoing. Banser and Nahdlatul Ulama have both since issued public apologies for the incident.
However, calls went out on social media platforms and popular messaging application WhatsApp this week for hardline Muslims to participate in the Defend Tawhid 211 rally in Central Jakarta on Friday.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, which means "Party of Liberation" in Arabic, is a global Islamist movement that seeks to unite all Muslim nations in a caliphate to "resume the Islamic way of life."
The organization is banned in several Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
The Indonesian government disbanded HTI in July last year, but the organization fought the decision in the Jakarta State Administrative Court, which in May this year rejected its plea for a revocation of the ban.
"We urge the public to maintain national unity and not to succumb to the provocations of HTI, which was legally disbanded through a decree issued by the minister of justice and human rights on July 19, 2017," the government said in a statement on Thursday.
The government said Friday's planned rally was irrelevant against the background of the current situation, with the nation still mourning recent natural disasters that hit parts of West Nusa Tenggara and Central Sulawesi, killing thousands, as well as this week's crash of Lion Air flight JT-610.
Religious leaders have meanwhile encouraged all sides to resolve the issue peacefully and to allow the law to take its course in a fair and transparent manner.
Gemma Holliani Cahya, Nusa Dua Farmers have challenged claims that the palm oil industry has brought prosperity to smallholders and reduced poverty, as millions still struggle to get land ownership documents and earn enough money to meet their basic needs.
The chairman of the Bogor-based Oil Palm Smallholders Union, Mansuetus Darto, said the better welfare of farmers and sustainable development goals (SDG) could be achieved when farmers secure their land rights and the government sets a minimum price for fresh fruit bunches (TBS), as well as establishes fairer partnerships with companies.
Seventeen million people across Indonesia depended on the palm oil industry, Darto said, while 3 million people were independent farmers that sold their TBS products to middlemen at very low prices, at around Rp 500 (3 US cents) per kilogram, or even less than that.
"Their lives depend on the TBS price. If [the price] goes down then they would be in poverty, and they will not be able to buy food or meet their basic needs," he said on Friday during a session of the 14th Indonesian Palm Oil Conference.
The annual palm oil conference, which was held in Nusa Dua this year, gathered government and palm oil companies to discuss how the industry can contribute to achieving the SDGs and boost prosperity.
The government and the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association claimed that the industry, which is a key feature of the country's economy, has contributed to the SDGs by reducing the number of people in poverty.
According to 2016 data from the Trade Ministry, from 2001 to 2010 the palm oil sector in Indonesia lifted 10 million people out of poverty, of which at least 1.3 million lived in rural areas. It provided an income for 5.3 million workers and supported the livelihood of 21 million people.
"For the big companies and industries, of course the government has contributed, but for the independent farmers, [the government hasn't done enough]. The farmers are supposed to be the beneficiaries of the SDGs. Industry players and the government must improve the livelihoods of independent farmers," Darto said.
This is not the first time that farmers have complained about the lack of effort to improve their welfare.
Earlier, farmers in Riau complained that they could not access grants from the People's Oil Palm Replanting (PSR) program offered by the Indonesian Oil Palm Estate Fund to renew their aging plants.
The Agriculture Ministry has set a target of replanting 185,000 hectares of smallholders' oil palm plantations this year. Yet, the realization as of October is less than 5 percent.
The Association of Indonesian Oil Palm Farmers secretary for Kuantan Singingi regency, Imrialis, said what the government had done was not enough, as the basic problem for smallholders was that they did not own land. To access the grants, a document on land ownership is required.
Imrialis said there were many farmers who planted in areas that were classed as protected forests, industrial forests, customary forests, social forests and peatland.
"We do want to register with the PSR program, but many of us are not highly educated, so we find it difficult when facing the numerous requirements, especially regarding land verification," he said.
In September, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo imposed a moratorium on oil palm plantations by signing Presidential Instruction No. 8/2018 that forbids the expansion of oil palm plantations and ordered the Agriculture Ministry to make sure that 20 percent of existing plantations were allocated to smallholders.
However, Darto said the figure of 20 percent was very small and not clear enough regarding the farmers' welfare.
"I asked the Agriculture Ministry to give us the exact number of hectares a farmer could get. Because 2 hectares are not enough to support their livelihood. Many farmers don't even have 1 hectare of land. How can they send their children to university if they only have 1 or 2 hectares?" he said.
Azis Hidayat, the chairman of Secretariat Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO), said what Darto mentioned in the conference was only a small number of cases and does not represent the general condition of smallholders.
"He has to check whether the factories around the smallholders have already got their ISPO or not. Because if they have got it then Insya Allah [God willing] they will follow our recommendations, and the cases that he mentioned will not happen. We can also trace the supply chains," he said.
The ISPO is a policy implemented by the government through the Agriculture Ministry in the palm oil sector that is expected to tackle various problems, such as deforestation, the killing of endangered animals, child labor and pollution.
Jakarta President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has called on village heads not to use the Village Fund, which will soon be disbursed by the government, to construct village infrastructure, but rather to develop village economies and to encourage innovation to improve people's welfare.
The President asked Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo on Sunday to cooperate with businesses to absorb products manufactured in villages.
"If possible, to empower [village] economies, the minister should cooperate with factories, industry and companies so that village products can be absorbed," the President said on Sunday as quoted by kontan.co.id.
He also stressed the importance of villages innovating to develop their economic potential. He gave as examples Umbul Ponggok village in Klaten, Central Java, and Embung Nglanggeran in Gunung Kidul in Yogyakarta, which have managed to develop tourism facilities that could boost village revenues.
"Such innovation can be implemented in many areas in Banten," the President said while promoting the Village Fund program in Tangerang, Banten.
The government has allocated Rp 186 trillion (US$12.42 billion) for the Village Fund in the 2019 state budget, which was recently approved by the House of Representatives. (bbn)
Jakarta has been without a vice governor ever since Sandiaga Uno resigned in August to run as Gerindra Chairman Prabowo Subianto's running mate in next April's presidential election.
Since then, there's been a long tussle over the vacancy involving Gerindra and one of their biggest allies in the opposition coalition, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).
But now it appears Gerindra, under the orders of Prabowo, have conceded the vice governor post to PKS, soon after the latter issued a thinly veiled threat to stop the "political machine" of the opposition.
Among those to make the announcement was Gerindra Jakarta Regional Executives Chairman Mohammad Taufik, who himself has been heavily linked with the job (and who is registered to run in next year's general election, despite the fact that he has been convicted of corruption in the past).
"This is not because of [the threat by] PKS. This is fulfilling the wish of the [Gerindra] chairman," Taufik told Kompas yesterday.
However, it does not seem like Gerindra has definitively given up on the vice governorship, with Taufik saying there are conditions under which PKS can have one of their cadres become Governor Anies Baswedan's second-in-command.
"We don't want blank cheques. PKS can't suddenly decide on two names. I don't want that, they have to go through fit and proper tests," he said.
Taufik added that, should any of the candidates from PKS fail to meet the requirements set by a panel consisting of Gerindra and PKS politicians as well as the Jakarta City Council, then they can put forward alternative candidates but so could Gerindra.
Taufik's statement did not go over well with some at PKS, with one party executive calling it "illogical" and saying that they would ensure that the next vice governor is from PKS.
Amid the ongoing political drama, the Home Affairs Ministry says it has urged Governor Anies to appoint a vice governor as soon as possible but conceded that, as per regulations, Jakarta could be without a vice governor until 2021.
"[The position] can be filled, at the latest, 18 months before the end of the governor's tenure (a 5-year period beginning in 2017)," Home Affairs Ministry Regional Autonomy Director General Soni Sumarsono told Merdeka.
Riska Rahman, Jakarta Waste management is a challenging and never-ending issue faced by many administrations, including those in Greater Jakarta.
While administrations carry out programs to deal with the issue, some communities have also taken an approach of creativity and deterrence to prevent people from littering and keep their neighborhoods clean.
In Greater Jakarta, it often takes more than putting up a sign saying "no littering" to prevent litterbugs from littering.
On a road that separates Jl. Nusa Jaya, Pondok Ranji and Bintaro Plaza Residence apartments in South Tangerang, a 2 meter by 1 meter white banner with faded red lettering plastered on a wall says "Do not litter on this road! Those who are caught in the act will be fined Rp 200,000 [US$13]".
Right beside the banner, there is another smaller, newer-looking black banner showing a picture of a praying woman wearing a long, maroon veil with the words, "Oh, God, please strike the people who throw their garbage on this road with lightning!"
Although residents put up the banners a year ago, garbage comprising what looks like food waste and plastic was seen placed under the banners.
"Because of its seclusion, people always throw their garbage there because they know that nobody will catch them in the act," Ujang, 25, a resident who also set up an ice coconut stall 50 m away from the banners told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
He added that those who throw their garbage away on the side of the road are mostly passers-by who do not live in the area.
People who throw their trash under the banners did not just leave small pieces of garbage such as plastic bottles. Often times, Ujang said he saw filled plastic bags containing food waste that emanated an unpleasant smell or even rubble from construction sites.
A similar banner was also found on the side of Jl. Aria Putra in Jombang, Ciputat, also in South Tangerang.
Residents who have had enough of seeing people throwing bags full of waste erected a blue, 3 meter by 1 meter banner stating "God, please take the lives of anyone who litters here!"
However, in contrast to the banners found in Pondok Ranji, the banner seems to have been effective in discouraging people from littering there.
"Usually, motorists and motorcyclists would stop and throw their dripping wet waste here," said 50-year-old motorcycle taxi driver Eko Purwanto. "But since the sign was put up a few months ago, I don't think anyone has ever thrown their garbage there again."
Residents of South Tangerang may take a religious approach to prevent littering in their neighborhood, but other places around Greater Jakarta use a harsher way to warn litterbugs.
Damar Iradat, 27, said residents spray-painted a plain white wall in an alleyway in Tomang, West Jakarta, in which they likened people who use the alley as a dump site to apes.
It is not uncommon to see signs like "Only dogs litter here" or "Those who litter here are monkeys".
Social analyst from the University of Indonesia, Devie Rahmawati, said despite residents' creative efforts to discourage people from littering, signs might not always work.
"Our society has been desensitized after seeing threatening warnings or the use of profanity because many of them have always been exposed to such words, especially on social media," she told the Post, adding that the warnings would not create the necessary fear to deter people from littering.
Furthermore, she said, littering has also become a part of the culture for Jakartans and Indonesians alike, so the cautions would never be effective in changing such bad habits despite a litterbug's level of education or economic status.
To prevent people from further polluting the city with their trash, Devie said, local administrations should firmly enforce bylaws and fine litterbugs to help keep the city clean.
Jakarta The government has doubled the allocation of cash assistance distributed through the Family Hope Program.
This year, the government allocated Rp 17 trillion (US$1.12 billion) for the program, but the figure will increase to Rp 34.4 trillion next year. Poor households will receive Rp 3.4 million annually, an increase from Rp 1.7 million.
"This is in line with the effort to accelerate poverty eradication," said Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati at the House of Representatives building on Wednesday.
It was also reported that the government had also expanded the number of contribution assistance recipients from 86.4 million in 2015 to 96.8 million in 2019.
Fund allocation for social protection reached Rp 385 trillion, 15.64 percent of the total projected spending in 2019. The remaining funds will be distributed through other programs.
In the 2019 state budget, the government is projected to spend Rp 2.46 quadrillion (US$161.84 billion) comprising Rp 1.63 quadrillion by the central government and Rp 826.8 trillion by regional administrations. Meanwhile, it aims to collect Rp 2.16 quadrillion in revenue in 2019. (bbn)
Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta A Sriwijaya Air flight bound for Jakarta from Bengkulu on Monday was reportedly delayed for an hour after passengers objected to the pungent aroma of durian in the passenger cabin.
Antara reporter Boyke Ledy Watra, who happened to be on the plane, reported that several passengers argued, occasionally almost coming to blows, with flight crew members before deciding to leave the aircraft.
Sriwijaya Air eventually decided to unload sacks of durian from the baggage compartment and the flight eventually departed around 11.40 a.m., an hour later than the scheduled takeoff.
Sriwijaya Air senior corporate communications manager Retri Maya released a statement in response to the reports, justifying the airline's decision to carry the durian despite its decision to eventually unload the strongly smelling but popular fruit.
"It's not illegal to carry durian in a flight as long as it is wrapped properly in accordance with flight regulations carried inside the hold. Many airlines do this," she said in a statement on Tuesday. (swd)
Angus Whitley, Eko Listiyorini and Alan Levin, Jakarta The Lion Air plane that crashed in the Java Sea last week had faulty airspeed readings during its last four flights and Indonesian investigators called on planemaker Boeing Co. and U.S. authorities to ensure there aren't fleet-wide issues.
The Southeast Asian country's National Transportation Safety Committee, which is charged with finding the cause of the crash that killed 189 people, is collecting data on what happened during the three prior malfunctions and the flight crew's actions prior to the accident, it said in a statement Monday. The agency gleaned the information on the plane's previous trips from the flight data recorder retrieved from the wreckage last week.
The body asked the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board "and Boeing to take necessary steps to prevent similar incidents, especially on the Boeing 737 Max, which number 200 aircraft all over the world," it said in the statement.
So far, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which certificated the 737 Max, hasn't taken any steps to require inspections of the plane. "Any action that the FAA would take regarding that incident would have to wait until we have findings," agency acting Administrator Daniel Elwell said Monday after a speaking engagement in Washington.
Investigators haven't disclosed any reports of other airspeed failures on 737 Max aircraft. The FAA, which regulates the U.S. aviation industry, hasn't received any reports of airspeed issues occurring on the model in the U.S., said a person familiar with the agency's reviews. The person asked not to be named because he wasn't authorized to speak about the issue.
A spokeswoman for Boeing in Singapore declined to comment. The NTSB, which conducts accident investigations and is assisting Indonesia in the probe, didn't respond to a request for comment.
The latest information released by investigators still doesn't answer why the pilots on three previous flights were able to handle the problem while the crew on Oct. 29 ended up diving at high speed into the sea, said John Cox, president of consulting company Safety Operating Systems and a former airline pilot.
"I'm still of the opinion that losing airspeed on the airplane shouldn't result in losing the airplane," Cox said.
Pilots are trained to deal with faulty airspeed readings. There are three separate systems to calculate speed and altitude, and there are a variety of measures pilots can take when speed readings become unreliable.
An area that investigators will want to explore is how Lion Air addressed a recurring problem on the plane. If malfunctions continue to occur on a component and routine maintenance procedures don't solve it, airlines are supposed to have a process to bring greater scrutiny to the issue, Cox said. "When you see recurring problems, it says the normal easy fixes aren't solving it," he said.
While search teams scouring the waters managed to bring up the flight data recorder, a separate recorder that captures cockpit conversations and background noise is still buried in the seabed where the plane plunged. The audio device may be crucial to unraveling what happened during the flight's final moments. In particular, it may help explain why the crew asked to return to base minutes into the journey.
"We have said there's a technical problem but we also want to know what they were discussing in the cockpit and what they were doing," Soerjanto Tjahjono, chief of Indonesia's NTSC, told reporters on Monday. "Cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder are both important to reveal the truth in this case."
The initial readings from the data recorder showing an airspeed malfunction offer the first solid explanation for why the flight appeared to vary its speeds and altitude starting shortly after takeoff.
The plane's altitude was mostly about 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), but rose and fell repeatedly within a range of a few hundred feet, according to flight-tracking data from FlightRadar24. The speed also fluctuated in a range of roughly 320 to 375 miles (515 to 604 kilometers) an hour, according to FlightRadar24's data.
With the data recorder in the hands of investigators, the NTSC has recovered about 69 hours of flying data by the crashed jet during its last 19 trips.
Because Flight JT610 lasted only a few minutes, the voice recorder may also include at least some audio from the previous night's trip from Denpasar, Bali to Jakarta. The aircraft experienced problems on the flight from Bali with sensors used to calculate altitude and speed.
The instruments were checked by maintenance workers overnight and the plane was cleared to fly, according to Lion Air.
Even with modern GPS tracking, planes need to calculate their precise speed through the air. To determine airspeed which can vary substantially compared to the speed over the ground due to winds aircraft rely on Pitot tubes which measure the air rushing into them.
By comparing that pressure against the ambient air pressure obtained from what are known as static ports, the aircraft can determine airspeed. If either of the pressure sensors are blocked, it can cause erroneous readings.
Indonesia's rescue agency said Sunday that wreckage spotted by divers had turned out to be only pieces of skin of the Boeing Co. jet rather than the main fuselage. Strong underwater currents in the Java Sea off Jakarta and a muddy seabed have complicated a week-long hunt that's involved dozens of ships and hundreds of specialist personnel.
As the 270-square-mile search for debris widened over the weekend, Indonesian authorities broadened a review of Lion Air's operations, including the airline's standard operating procedures and flight-crew qualifications. That followed the discovery of defects on two other Boeing 737 Max 8 planes both operated by Lion Mentari Airlines during checks on six aircraft of that type. Neither of the faults appeared related to the accident.
The inspection of plane debris indicated the aircraft didn't explode mid-air before plunging into the Java Sea, Tjahjono said earlier on Monday.
"The aircraft broke apart under the impact of hitting the water at high speed and it didn't break apart mid-air," Tjahjono said. "The engines were still running at high RPM."
President Joko Widodo has asked airlines to make passenger safety the highest priority, and the government had already ordered a review of Lion's repair and maintenance unit and suspended several managers.
The transport ministry is coordinating with airport authorities, navigation operators and airlines among others to ensure airworthiness at all airports in Indonesia is well maintained, according to Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.
Kate Lamb, Jakarta Data from one of the black boxes retrieved from the Lion Air plane that crashed into the Java Sea last Monday has revealed the aircraft experienced problems with its airspeed indicators on its last four flights, while admissions from Lion Air have suggested technical difficulties the plane encountered were not isolated to that issue.
The new Boeing plane plunged into the sea off the coast of West Java thirteen minutes after takeoff on 29 October killing all 189 on board. The crash was the worst aviation disaster in Indonesia in more than two decades.
The head of Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), Soerjanto Tjahjono, told reporters the Boeing 737 Max plane had suffered similar problems on its last four routes, according to information downloaded from its flight data recorder.
"When we opened the black box, yes indeed the technical problem was the airspeed or the speed of the plane," Tjahjono said.
"Data from the black box showed that the two flights before Denpasar-Jakarta also experienced the same problem," he said. "In the black box there were four flights that experienced problems with the airspeed indicator."
But Nyoman Rai Pering, head of Lion Air's largest engineering facility located in Batam, told the Guardian problems with the plane were not isolated to the airspeed indicators in the days leading up to the crash.
Asked why the plane had descended from 39,000 feet to 30,000 feet on a flight from Manado to Denpasar on 27 October, and contrary to its regular flying pattern was then grounded for 12 hours, Pering acknowledged the plane had been undergoing repairs during that period.
"Yes, we took time to fix the problem Manado to Denpasar to make sure everything was fixed. We replaced the part suspected by our engineer," Nyoman said.
"I think the problem was with the angle of attack, which controls the stability of the aircraft." The "angle of attack" or AOA indicates whether a plane is going to stall.
Given the acknowledged issues with both the angle of attack and airspeed indicators, aviation analyst Gerry Soejatman said the problems the jet encountered may be wider that initially believed, and linked to the plane's air data reference unit (ADR).
The ADR takes in several key indicators including airspeed, altitude, air temperature, and the angle of attack.
"With all of this happening within a few days we suspect the problem is not just limited to the airspeed indication. This might mean there was an issue with the ADR box as a whole," he said. "It might be the ADR itself that was a fault, not those sensors."
Amid the ongoing investigation safety experts say it is too early to determine the cause of the crash from Jakarta to tin-mining town of Pankal Pinang.
As part of an extended search mission, authorities continued to scour the seabed for the second "black box," the cockpit's voice recorder, in the Java Sea.
Kate Lamb, Jakarta "I heard the plane from Bali already had a problem, right. So why did it fly?" asks Fendy, 43, as he sits on the kerb outside the police hospital in East Jakarta, trying to make sense of things.
The last time Fendy saw his wife, Mawar Sariarti, was when he dropped her off at the airport on Monday morning, before she a boarded a flight that later plunged into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff.
"The system is difficult in Indonesia. It's as though they don't care about people's lives, it's trivial to them," he says quietly, "They shouldn't try and excuse it by saying it was a new plane. They weren't supposed to fly."
Five days after the new Boeing 737 Max operated by Indonesia's budget airline Lion Air crashed in clear weather off the coast, killing all 189 on board, family members are searching for answers, and someone, something to blame.
In the wake of the disaster reports have emerged the same plane had technical difficulties the night before, on a flight from Bali to Jakarta, just hours before it crashed. For the families with loved ones on board, their grief is now infused with palpable anger.
On Friday relatives at the police hospital where family members have handed over toothbrushes, unwashed clothes and dental records in the hope it will help forensics experts identify the victims got the chance to confront Lion Air directly.
Inside a large room at the hospital more than 100 family members attended the media conference arranged for them, sitting slumped or arms crossed with dazed expressions as police forensics and a Lion Air representative provided the latest updates on the search, and urged them to be patient.
But their announcements were met with a mixture of exasperation and contempt. "You can tell the public about the black box, but that's not what we need to hear," says the first relative to respond, his voice wavering over the microphone, "If you really cared about us don't be so proud about that."
One man in the audience closes his eyes as he recites a prayer, while in the corner police psychologists attempt to distract the children in the playpen. Most family members wear plastic nametags around their neck identifying the wearer and those they have lost.
"The results of the investigation are not important to us. The important thing is, when are we going to be finished here?" asked the next, a man in a Batik shirt, "Are we able to see the condition of the dead bodies? No. We have just been left hanging here."
In the five days that have passed since flight JT610 fell into the sea the disaster victim identification team has identified only four of the 189 victims.
Dr Lisda Cancer, a forensic specialist told reporters the first victim was identified after they made a match on a fingerprint and a gold ring, on a hand that had come in.
As of Saturday, 73 body bags had arrived at the hospital from the port, mostly a jumbled mix of body parts. "From the body parts that have come in," admitted Cancer, "We have only got limited information."
On Saturday it emerged the search itself had claimed a life. Indonesian rescue diver Syachrul Anto, 48, died on Friday while diving to search for victims of the crash. The national disaster agency Basarnas hailed him "a humanitarian hero. It is not immediately clear how Anto died.
Relatives have gathered at the police hospital for days hoping for a positive ID, and the frustration has led to a macabre line of questioning.
"From the parts that come in the body bag, do you put those together first or what?" asked one anxious relative. "We all just want this process to be faster."
According to Islam, the dominant religion in Indonesia, a dead body should be properly washed and prepared for burial as soon as possible a ritual almost no one in the room has been able to perform.
Families also wonder between themselves whether Lion Air was at fault given the technical difficulties the plane reportedly suffered on Sunday night, including "unreliable" airspeed indicators and the pilot requesting to turn back five minutes after takeoff, before apparently resolving the issue.
The Guardian has also learned the same plane had a separate technical issue days prior, on a flight from Manado to Denpasar.
Lion Air stands by its statement that the plane was fit to fly. "Yes, we took time to fix the problem from Manado to Denpasar to make sure everything was fixed," says Nyoman Rai Pering, the director of Lion Air's largest engineering facility, located in Batam, when asked why the plane, contrary to its normal flying pattern, had been grounded hours longer than normal that weekend.
"I think the problem was with the angle of attack, which controls the stability of the aircraft," he said, adding that problem had also been rectified and the plane cleared to fly.
On Friday, the transport ministry said it had found "minor" faults in two other Boeing 737 Max jets, including a cockpit indicator display problem which an analyst said may be similar to one reported in the crashed jet. The ministry is inspecting 10 of the newly released jets owned by Lion and flagship carrier Garuda.
Few details were released, but the ministry said it had looked over half a dozen jets so far and discovered that one had a problem linked to its cockpit display while another had a glitch in a jet stabilisation system.
Investigators have said it could take weeks to download the information from the retrieved flight data recorder, and likely much longer for the true cause of the tragic crash to be revealed. The black box is damaged and needs special handling to ensure its data survive.
The "crash-survivable memory unit" has been opened and washed and some of its wiring will need to be replaced and a new shell provided from Lion Air before its data can be accessed, said the National Transport Safety Committee.
Marsudi, from Palembang in South Sumatra, lost his daughter, Cici Ariska in the crash. On Friday. he sits red-eyed with a blank stare, chain smoking under a tree at the hospital.
Newly married, last weekend Cici and her husband, Chandra, had been holidaying in Bali and Jakarta before boarding the JT610 flight home to Bangka.
On Facebook they had posted pictures together with their friends in matching pink shirts in front of the Lion Air plane on the tarmac, and then eating seafood in Bali's Jimbaran Bay. She was 24.
Clara Chooi Why did Lion Air JT610, operating a near-new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, crash just 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta on Monday? Could the incident have been prevented and the lives of the 189 people on board saved?
Why did Lion Air declare the aircraft airworthy despite complaints by pilots of technical problems, including an issue with "unreliable airspeed", during its previous flight? Prior to its ill-fated journey from Jakarta to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang on Monday, Flight JT610 flew the Bali-Jakarta route, during which these red flags were raised.
The questions above remain unanswered for now as investigators try to piece together the tragic narrative that has been dominating Indonesian and world headlines this week.
That's because air disasters aren't daily events. Neither are they monthly. Modern air travel has become remarkably safe, safer even than travelling by car or even rail as experts would say.
Over the past five years, statistics show that the rate of air disasters involving lives have dropped from one out of every 1.5 million departures (2013) to one out of every 7.5 million (2017).
But the tragedy involving Lion Air is in the spotlight for a different reason: Indonesian aviation's chequered past.
It was just in August 2016 that airlines from the archipelago were allowed back into US airspace. Then in June this year, the European Union lifted a similar ban, instituted in 2007.
For Indonesian airline players, the reprieve came as a massive relief and an opportunity for more business.
With economic development fuelling interest in domestic travel and a surge in foreign visitors to its 17,000 islands, Indonesia's air travel business has grown impressively. According to World Bank numbers, air traffic jumped from 27 million in 2009 to 88.6 million in 2015 a 330 percent increase and these numbers have continued to surge.
For local players, this has triggered a need for more aircraft according to reports, Indonesian airlines are among the biggest purchasers of new aircraft.
This year, Lion Air alone placed an order for 50 of Boeing's 737 MAX 10 jets the same aircraft that crashed Monday. Wall Street Journal reports that the airline ordered over 200 planes from Boeing in a 2011 arrangement that is the aircraft maker's biggest ever commercial deal to date.
Indonesia is now the world's fifth largest domestic market after US, China India and Japan, and with its aircraft orders, is expected to contribute some US$30 to US$40 billion to the global economy.
But as air travel demands boom both domestically and internationally, concerns have been raised on the local industry's ability to find sufficient talent to help it cope with the rapid growth. Industry observers have said the Indonesian government needs and lacks the political will to ensure human safety is the priority of its airline players not the pursuit of profit margins.
Aviation expert Shukor Yusof says in Aerotime that the government should provide more funds to upgrade airports and to train aviation personnel on the importance of safety.
Separately, International Air Transport Association spokesman Albert Tjoeng is quoted saying:
"The expected market growth, as well as the social and economic benefits, is by no means guaranteed. The infrastructure both airport and air traffic control needs to have the capacity to handle the expected growth. Having trained personnel to support the expected travel demand is equally important."
But these are words easier said than done. According to the Aerotime report, Indonesia's Directorate General of Civil Aviation, a regulatory body under the Transport Ministry, is understaffed.
Without manpower, it is unlikely able to provide the kind of granular supervision needed on airlines, training providers, aircraft MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul), among other matters.
These shortcomings are only worsened by the uncertainty over who, or which agency, shoulders the weight of responsibility in the development of local aviation and adherence to international safety standards.
It is also the possible reason behind the country's terrible safety record data from the Aviation Safety Network say over the past 15 years, there were nearly 40 fatal accidents and over 100 incidents recorded in Indonesia.
By contrast in neighbouring Malaysia, which has on its track record the highly-controversial disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in 2014, there have been fewer than a dozen incidents since 2001, and a couple of fatal accidents.
As the Lion Air disaster continues to unravel at the time of writing, reports are saying that searchers have uncovered the aircraft's black box it remains to be seen how Indonesia's aviation industry, and the government, will respond to this latest tragedy.
While the country has come a long way in recent years with regards to air safety measures and this is immediately reflected in its airlines' removal from US and EU blacklists what remains clear is more needs to be done. And immediately.
The sacking of Lion Air's executives over the latest tragedy and Indonesian President Joko Widodo's directive to the Transport Ministry to "improve our safety management" are merely band-aid solutions to treat the symptom, not the problem.
Erwin Renaldi Indonesia's peak body for broadcasting has warned local journalists not to sensationalise the reporting of the Lion Air plane crash, in a bid to stop widespread "unethical media coverage" of major disasters.
The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) made the plea a day after Flight JT610 crashed into the Java Sea with 189 people on board on Monday.
Local journalists in Indonesia rushed to cover the accident tirelessly to keep both local and international audiences informed, but audience members have criticised the covereage as insensitive towards the victims' families.
One online media outlet, OkeZone, posted a video showing a large mob of reporters surrounding a visibly shaken woman outside the Lion Air Crisis Centre in Jakarta and rapidly firing questions at her from all directions.
"What would happen if they don't find the plane?" one reporter asked. "How did you feel after hearing about the crash?" asked another.
In a separate video from another local media company, reporters can be heard asking relatives of another victim: "Did you foresee something like this happening?" "Did you have a premonition this would happen?" another shouted.
Ahmad Arif a journalist at Kompas and author of the book "Disastrous Journalism; Journalism Disaster" told the ABC aggressive eliciting of emotion from vulnerable interviewees was a common practice among journalists in Indonesia.
"Those kind of questions are asked by news hunters to stir their feelings, often deliberately exploiting them just for the sake of dramatising an already distressful unfortunate events," he said. 'Traumatised the audience and family members'
Indonesia's Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) chairman, Abdul Manan, told the ABC that TV footage of debris from Flight JT610 and distressed family members of the vicitims were repeatedly broadcast with melancholic music, which "traumatised the audience and family members".
Mr Manan said there was "definitely pressure on journalists on the field" to continually produce stories even when there were no significant updates to be reported.
Concerned Indonesians also took to social media to express their displeasure at how the accident was being covered.
"I heard TVOne News reporter ask a family member of one victim 'Are you close to the victim?' which the young sibling replied 'Of course!'," Dewi Sunarni posted on Twitter. "I was embrassed when I heard it and changed the channel."
Another Twitter user said he heard a reporter asking: "What are the most unforgettable moments you shared with the victim?"
Yuliandre Darwis, president of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission, said their warning about "unethical coverage" of the Lion Air flight had been welcomed by many newsrooms around the country.
Media coverage of plane crashes and other disasters had generally improved, he added, but there needed to be "more control" around what was being published online.
Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, Padang, West Sumatra Iwan Mulyadi, who was accidentally shot by a policeman in West Sumatra 12 years ago, will finally receive compensation.
"Praise God, there has been progress," said Iwan's lawyer Wengki Purwanto, who is also the chairman of the Association of Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights (PBHI) in North Sumatra.
Speaking to The Jakarta Post after meeting with West Sumatra Police's legal division on Monday, Wengki said the division head, Sr. Comr. Nina Febri Linda, had invited the PHBI as Ivan's legal advisor to discuss the compensation.
During the meeting, the PHBI was told that the National Police had asked the West Sumatra Police to implement a court ruling from seven years ago regarding the payment of Rp 300 million (US$20,199) in compensation.
The West Sumatra Police had also proposed a budget allocation for the payment from its revised 2018 budget, as per the National Police's instruction.
"Once approved, the funds will be wired to the West Pasaman Police, and the compensation can then be disbursed via the West Pasaman District Court," Wengki said.
Iwan was accidentally shot by First Brig. Nofrizal of the Kinali Police in West Pasaman regency on Jan. 29, 2006. The policeman was pursuing a suspect in Iwan's neighborhood. Iwan, who was 16 years old at the time, was shot in the back and paralyzed from his waist down, as the bullet hit his spinal cord.
Iwan, now 28 years old, is still disabled and surviving by begging in the streets with his 75-year-old father in Pekanbaru, Riau. (swa/swd)
Despite arrests being made related to the recent proliferation of fake news stories on social media about child kidnappings in Indonesia, one man in the city of Depok fell victim to the paranoia generated by these stories after being falsely accused of the heinous act.
As reported by Viva, a 45-year-old man, identified by his initials AK, was beaten up and apprehended by a mob who suspected that he had kidnapped a child, footage of which spread on social media. AK was then handed over to the police, despite the mob having zero evidence that he had actually kidnapped anybody.
"[AK] was suspected [by the mob] of carrying something, which turned out to be a cat. But then [the mob] suspected him [of child kidnapping] anyway because maybe they heard stories about kidnapping that have been spreading on social media lately," Depok Police Chief Didik Sugiyarto told reporters today.
The police then questioned AK who they say appears to be mentally challenged and soon cleared him of any wrongdoing. The police said the mob turned AK in to authorities simply on the grounds that he was "acting strange".
"We urge the public not to easily share information that's not been verified. Because if the information is false it could lead to disturbances," Didik said.
Police have arrested at least six people so far for sharing hoaxes about child kidnapping on social media, two of whom admitted to the police that they did it "for fun".
Numerous child kidnapping hoaxes have been documented and debunked by officials recently, some of which go so far as to claim that children are being kidnapped so that their organs can be harvested and sold off. Although the stories have been proven false, most use real photos or video that give them a sense of disturbing authenticity.
Jakarta The Indonesian and Australian governments on Monday signed an agreement on their partnership for economic development in Canberra on Monday.
The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, according to a press statement issued by the Finance Ministry.
Under the agreement, both governments agree to exchange updated information on revenue and taxation policy, structural reform, the stock market, the financial service and international economic policies.
Various activities that will be implemented under the agreement include bilateral visits, conferences, workshops, joint studies, internships (officials' exchanges) and a scheduled annual cooperation event, the press statement says.
Sri Mulyani appreciated the Australian government's commitment to improving cooperation between the two countries. She stressed that it was helpful for her ministry to manage fiscal policy and to carry out taxation reform based on the Australian government's experience.
Under the agreement, the Australian Treasury has also placed its senior staff at the Finance Ministry's Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF). This MoU is a renewal of an agreement on bilateral economic policy dialogue (BEPD) signed in 2013 by the Australian Treasury and the BKF.
Under the renewed agreement, the Australian Treasury and the BKF will discuss the priority of the following year. The topics to be discussed include international, regional and bilateral cooperation.
It is in line with the both countries' high level policy dialogue that was introduced in 2006 and involves both government officials and research institutions with the main objective of improving both capacity and technical development. (bbn)
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta The Energy and Mineral Resources extended on Thursday the temporary special mining permit (IUPK) of gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) as the previous permit issued one month ago expired on Oct. 31.
Ministry spokesperson Agung Pribadi told the press at his office in Jakarta on Thursday that the newly issued permit would expire on Nov. 30.
The temporary permit is needed by PTFI as a legal basis to export its copper concentrates. PTFI has already had monthly temporary IUPKs since February 2018. "The issuance of the month-month permit is to extend the time for the completion of the divestment transaction," he said.
PTFI is currently still under a contract of work (CoW), which is due to expire in 2021. The government plans to issue a permanent IUPK for the company after the completion of the divestment process through which Indonesia is set to gain control of at least 51 percent of the company's shares.
State-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), which represents the government, has signed agreements with Freeport-McMoran (FCX), PTFI's parent company, on the purchase of a majority stake in PTFI, which operates a gold and copper mine in Papua.
To conclude the deal, however, Inalum, which represents the government in the talks, needs to settle the payment of US$3.85 billion to FCX and the Rio Tinto Group within six months. When the deal is completed, Inalum will increase its ownership of PTFI shares from 9.36 to 51.23 percent. (bbn)
Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Garut, West Java Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry geothermal director Ida Nuryatin said on Friday that total non-tax revenue from the geothermal energy sector in West Java has reached Rp 1.1 trillion (US$72.86 million) so far this year.
Ida said that of the total revenue, 80 percent was for the West Java administration and 20 percent for the central government. West Java produces 61 percent or 1,194 megawatts (MW) of the 1,948 MW national geothermal energy production.
"We have abundant potential geothermal energy in West Java compared to other regions. We have seven geothermal power plants in West Java," she said, adding that the power plants were located in Kamojang, Salak, Darajat, Wayang Windu, Patuha, Karaha and Cibuni.
She explained that the one in Cibuni, which is in a pre-production phase, would have an installed-capacity of 30 MW once it came on stream.
The Salak power plant, which has an installed capacity of 377 MW, has contributed Rp 237.8 billion in nontax revenue as of September, 114 percent of the full-year target of Rp 208.8 billion.
Garut Regent Rudi Gunawan said his administration had benefited from the presence of the Kamojang power plant. "Funds that we receive from the operation of Kamojang power plant are useful for development in the regency and in improving the welfare of our people," he said. (bbn)
Jakarta The manufacturing industry grew slower in October, indicated by the decline of Nikkei and IHS Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI), which stood at 50.5, lower than the previous month's index of 50.7.
A country with a PMI of 50 indicates lack of expansion in the manufacturing industry. While the index declined, Indonesia's position was still better than peer countries such as Malaysia (49.2), Thailand (48.9), Myanmar (48.0 and Singapore (43.3).
According to Nikkei, the slower expansion was caused by purchase and export declines in October.
"The manufacturing sector lost momentum since the beginning of the fourth quarter, indicating the condition of slower demand," said IHS Markit economist Bernard Aw in a Nikkei report as quoted by kontan.co.id on Tuesday.
He added that the slowing demand, however, had not affected production volume as in October, Nikkei still recorded moderate expansion in Indonesian manufacturers' output.
Factories in the country consistently increased activities, including in purchasing raw materials, and therefore still contributed to the increase of stocks.
However, the weakening of the rupiah had caused increases in raw material prices that triggered inflation on the input prices, the fastest in the last three years. Nikkei projected that companies would increase input cost, the fastest since 2015.
Nikkei has projected positive business sentiment next year following production increase, higher prices and planned capacity expansion. (bbn)
Rachmadea Aisyah, Jakarta The Indonesian economy grew by 5.17 percent year-on-year (yoy) in the third quarter of 2018, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Monday.
Although this was lower than the previous quarter's growth, which was at 5.27 percent yoy the highest in the last four years, it was better than in the first quarter's 5.06 percent yoy.
BPS head Suhariyanto said the slowdown was in line with the global economic slowdown both in developing and advanced countries, including in Singapore and China, two of Indonesia's major economic partners.
"The global economy is showing a tendency of slowing down, which can be seen in many countries that are Indonesia's trade partners, except the United States," Suhariyanto told a press briefing on Monday.
The rise in global crude oil prices also contributed to the slowdown, he said, referring to a 3.22 percent quarterly increase in the Indonesian Crude Price (ICP) to US$74.24 per barrel in the third quarter.
Indonesia's third quarter exports increased by 8.33 percent yoy, while imports rose by 23.71 percent. (bbn)
Jakarta Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) head Thomas Lembong says the government has lost its focus in the effort to improve its ranking in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index, having slid one spot to 73rd place from last year.
"I remember when the President highlighted the importance of ease of doing business in 2014. We were all excited and in high spirits," he said at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister in Jakarta on Thursday as reported by kompas.com.
"However, I have to admit that in 2017, we lost our focus. Our spirit was not as high as in 2014 to 2016."
It was the second time Lembong criticized the performance of the government with regard to ease of doing business. He made a similar statement earlier this week when he announced a decline in foreign investment in the third quarter of 2018.
He said on Thursday that it was time for the government to carry out introspection because other countries had worked hard to convince investors through regulatory reform.
"Many other countries realize that ease of doing business can be an important marketing tool to attract investment, causing Indonesia to be left behind," he said, referring to Afghanistan, Djibouti and China, which all saw significant jumps in their ease of doing business ranking.
Indonesia sits behind Malaysia (15) and Thailand (27)in the rankings, while at the top of the list sit are New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and South Korea. (bbn)
Aisyah Llewellyn Indonesia just can't catch a break. Following earthquakes in Lombok in August, and a twin earthquake and tsunami in Palu in Central Sulawesi in October killing thousands, the country is once again reeling after Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the Java Sea on 29 October. The plane was carrying 189 passengers, and all on board perished.
While it was announced on Thursday that the black box from flight JT610 has been found, it will likely be weeks or months before we find out the exact cause of the crash. All we know so far is that the plane had a mechanical fault which was said to have been "fixed" the day before its tragic final flight.
Low-cost carriers have revolutionised and democratised the way people across Southeast Asia travel. But low cost can also mean high risk.
Whatever the cause of the crash, it is a crushing blow. Yet it is hardly a shock. Indonesia is known for its troubling aviation safety record, which saw Indonesian carriers banned from the European Union in 2007. While some have been slowly allowed back over the years, it was only in June this year that the full ban was lifted.
The Lion Air flight JT610 crash is thought to be the worst of its kind in Indonesia since 1997, when Garuda Indonesia flight 152 crashed approaching Polonia International Airport in Medan in North Sumatra, killing 234. In 2014, Air Asia flight 8501 crashed into the Java Sea en route to Singapore from Surabaya with all 162 lives lost.
While Garuda Indonesia, the country's national carrier, has had its share of accidents, many of the main culprits of aviation disasters across the country are low-cost carriers such as Lion Air and Air Asia. In previous years, Adam Air and Mandala Airlines had a poor record, both of which no longer operate.
Lion Air's safety record makes for troubling reading 14 accidents, several serious, from 2002 onwards.
Low-cost carriers, however, shouldn't be completely demonised. These airlines have revolutionised and democratised the way people across Southeast Asia travel.
While Air Asia's slogan "Now Everyone Can Fly" may sound a little cheesy, it's also largely true. In years past, plane travel was either prohibitively expensive for many, or stuck to well-trodden routes. This meant that some parts of Indonesia could only be reached after hours or days spent on dangerous roads, by bus, car or motorbike.
In a country with some 17,000 islands, low-cost carriers have made mobility cheaper and easier.
But low cost can also mean high risk, something that even the founder of Lion Air, Rusdi Kirana, who is now Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia, seemed to acknowledge when he boasted in a 2015 interview, "My airline is the worst in the world, but you have no choice."
It was a comment lacking empathy, yet it captured the reality. Following the Lion Air crash, Australian diplomats have been urged to avoid the carrier until the cause of the accident can be established. Doubtless, many other passengers will do the same. If you have the choice and the means, there are usually other options available but, for many, low-cost carriers are still the only feasible and affordable way to get around.
And the alternatives carry dangers, too. In June this year, the KM Sinar Bangun passenger ferry sank at Lake Toba in North Sumatra due to overcrowding and bad weather, with almost 200 people aboard. Only 18 passengers were saved, but as the boat had no official manifest, the final death toll is likely to remain unknown.
At the time of the sinking, survivors lamented the lack of life jackets aboard. The boat had a capacity for just 40 passengers, far short of the 193 packed onto its decks. Five months on, little has changed. Local administrators at Lake Toba have now insisted on all boats having an official manifest, but have not provided additional safety equipment or training for boat captains.
The bigger issue is Indonesia has a dire safety record, not just in air travel, but across all forms of public transport. Bus accidents are also common. The real problem is that these tragedies appear to continue unabated, with few lessons learned along the way.
The Air Asia flight 8501 crash, it later transpired, was caused by a combination of factors including technical faults, pilot error, and adverse weather conditions. As with the ferry sinking at Lake Toba, these kinds of tragedies are usually the product of a fatal confluence. Almost always, however, they can be traced back to a preventable problem caused by human error. Planes don't just fall out of the sky, and boats don't just suddenly sink.
And while it is a true tragedy that can never be completely avoided, Indonesia can certainly do better. Until those in charge are held accountable and safety regulations are taken seriously, passengers continue to be exposed to needless risk when they travel around Indonesia.