Indonesia & East Timor News Updates - December 29, 2018

* Proposal for 'wife schools' sparks outrage
* Indonesia's poor bear the brunt of deadly tsunami
* Prabowo likens Indonesia's economy to African country Haiti
* After arresting Jambi governor, KPK detains councillors in bribery case
* Bali governor bans use of plastic, Styrofoam


Proposal for 'wife schools' sparks outrage

Jakarta Post - December 29, 2018

Ivany Atina Arbi and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta -- The West Bandung administration's plan to establish what it calls "wife schools" to prevent divorces has sparked outrage among the public, particularly from women activists, who have called the program unfair and sexist.

West Bandung Deputy Regent Hengky Kurniawan revealed the plan on his Instagram account on Thursday, citing the high number of divorce cases in the regency as the reason. The administration recorded 244 divorce cases from Nov. 5 to Nov. 30.

"This is a serious problem for us. Therefore, the West Bandung administration intends to establish 'wife schools' in 2019 to teach wives how to treat their husbands, to hold back their anger and to properly communicate with their kids," said the celebrity-turned-politician.

Hengky tagged the Instagram accounts of West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil and Vice Governor Uu Ruzhanul Ulum in his post.

Many Instagram users derided the idea as sexist, saying that both men and women could contribute to a divorce. Men, too, should pay attention to how they treat their partners.

An Instagram user with the handle @mamamolilo suggested that the administration instead offer "premarital courses", where future wives and husbands are taught about good communication, anger management, financial management and so on.

The Instagram account of the Aliansi Laki-laki Baru (New Men Alliance), a community that strives for women's rights on the assumption that the patriarchal mentality that supports men's dominance also harms men, also commented on Hengky's post, saying "Kang [elder brother] Hengky, let us meet so we can discuss what can cause divorces."

On Twitter, a user called Sekar Lintang Hapsari said it would be better to establish a school for abusive husbands. "Well, Hengky, why don't you [share your] 'Sekolah Ibu' idea with the husbands who beat the crap out of their wives and neglect their children." The comment received more than 800 likes in less than 24 hours.

As of Saturday morning, Hengky has closed the comment section for his controversial post. People can no longer comment or see comments in the post.

He also slightly edited the caption, adding the following note: "Nobody aims to blame wives for divorces, but such a program is working well in Bogor [West Java] to bring down the divorce rate. This is a good program that we can also implement. The trainers in the program will be professors, psychologists, lecturers, female police officers and career women. The governor has expressed appreciation for the plan. I apologize for any misunderstanding. Thank you."

Hengky's wife Sonya Fatmala, an actress and mother of three, supported her husband's idea, explaining the planned program in her Instagram Story posts. She claimed that Sekolah Ibu would be a great program to develop women's character and make them independent.

She said the schools would teach women how to use makeup, how to behave toward their husbands and how to handle their children. "[The school] will teach us [wives] to be mothers and wives who can control our emotions for our family. There are still many women who lack confidence and need a place to share [their feelings]," she wrote. (yan)



Indonesia's poor bear the brunt of deadly tsunami

Al Jezeera - December 29, 2018

Rob McBride, Banten, Indonesia -- Ahmad Hidayat's smile seemed strangely incongruous given the mess that lay around him.

I have seen that smile before in Indonesia -- a natural response, no matter the situation, maybe out of innate shyness or deference when talking to a stranger. And here, standing beside the dripping pile of clothes, home appliances, children's books and toys, Ahmad grinned broadly.

Helped by his wife and his uncle, he was busy dragging out the waterlogged contents of his home to see what could be salvaged.

The building was swamped on the night of December 22, when tsunami waves believed to have been triggered by an erupting volcano surged over the thin strip of beach that separated Ahmad's home in the village of Sambolo from the sea.

At least Ahmad's roof was intact, giving him the chance to dry out some of his goods. His neighbours' homes were missing roofs altogether, so their possessions were likely to stay wet until the end of the rainy season, still many weeks away.

Behind Ahmad's smile was the pain of knowing just how vulnerable people were here, with the monster of Anak Krakatoa volcano rumbling just over the horizon.

"This is my home. I have no other place to go," he said with a shrug. "But if I had money I'd buy somewhere safer to live."

'No warning'

For many people living along the Sunda Strait, which separates the islands of Java and Sumatra, the sea is their only livelihood.

From the fishermen to the family-owned resorts and restaurants that dotted the shoreline, people have no choice but to resume their previous ways of life.

"There was no warning at all," said Babay Halimatusadiah, the owner of a small food stall. "It happened suddenly."

She was standing beside her husband in the little food stall they own, set back about 100 metres from the beach in Carita district. On the day the tsunami hit, they were serving evening diners at the same spot.

Two days after the disaster, they were already back in business. The couple, however, said they would be a lot happier with a better early warning system.

"I hope the government can use newer technology," Halimatusadiah's husband Hasbialoh Asnawi told Al Jazeera. "Because we're afraid there's going to be worse in future."

The lack of a tsunami warning has sparked a fierce debate in Indonesia about the country's preparedness for such disasters, given how prone the sprawling archipelago is to earthquakes and destructive waves.

Much of the current warning system was put in place after the so-called Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 -- a far more devastating event that struck more than a dozen countries along the shores of the Indian Ocean. It claimed an estimated 200,000 lives in Indonesia alone.

'Still afraid'

Coincidentally, the 14th anniversary of the 2004 tsunami fell on Wednesday, as the clean up from the latest disaster continued.

On both occasions, the full force a tsunami can unleash could be seen in the damage done to the bigger, more solidly built homes and blocks in holiday resorts.

This time too, whole walls were swept away, exposing the rooms, furniture and toilet fixtures inside. And then, as now, it is the poorer, more vulnerable communities who bore the brunt.

Stretches of coastline now stripped clean of any signs of life were once thriving communities of simple huts made from bamboo, thatch and metal sheeting.

The piles of debris swept back 100-200 metres inland were the only reminders of the people who have been killed, injured and displaced.

In the town of Labuan, a couple of kilometres inland, thousands of homeless people were waiting to see when and how they can return home. The area is only a few metres above the sea level, but it was enough to offer a level of security for people who have experienced what the sea is capable of.

In one of the temporary camps that have sprung up, Watinah -- the wife of a fisherman who now has no way to support herself and her three children -- was watching the monotonous rain outside.

"I don't know how long we are going to stay here," she said. "We haven't been back to see the condition of our home because we're still afraid."

Just at that moment, more bad news arrived. Al Jazeera producer Syarina's device began beeping. The alert level on Anak Krakatoa had just been raised to Level 3, one below the maximum 4.

The people have reason to fear. the Anak Krakatoa still rumbles ominously.



Prabowo likens Indonesia's economy to African country Haiti

Tempo - December 26, 2018

Ahmad Rafiq (contributor), Jakarta -- Presidential candidate of the upcoming 2019 Indonesian election, Prabowo Subianto, issued yet another controversial statement which has gone viral. He claimed that Indonesians are not earning enough money likening them to impoverished nations, such as Haiti.

Prabowo said that the government has made an economic blunder that has driven a portion of Indonesia's wealth offshore.

"If this continues to go on, Indonesia will continue to be impoverished," said the opposition party's candidate in his speech at the Majelis Tafsir Al Quran (MTA) headquarters in Solo on Sunday, December 23.

"We, Indonesians, are on par with African impoverished countries such as Rwanda, Haiti, and small islands like Kiribati, which we don't even know where it's located," said Prabowo Subianto. He said that it is regrettable since Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world.

His statement which mentioned Haiti as a country in the African continent later went viral and became a topic of discussion and ridicule across social media platforms. It even went as far to drive the hashtag #Haiti into a trending topic on Twitter early this morning.

Many social media users pointed out the fact that Prabowo Subianto had failed to understand that Haiti is a country located in the Caribbean islands within the territory of the United States of America, unlike his speech which origins the country to an African state.



After arresting Jambi governor, KPK detains councillors in bribery case

Jakarta Post - December 28, 2018

Jakarta -- The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) is marching on in its investigation in a bribery case pertaining to the Jambi budget deliberation by naming 13 new suspects in the case, comprising Jambi Legislative Council (Jambi DPRD) members and businesspeople.

Those who were arrested include council speaker Cornelis Buston, deputy speakers AR Syahbandar and Chumaidi Zaidi as well as five political party faction leaders in the council from the Golkar Party, National Awakening Party (PKB), United Development Party (PPP) and Gerindra Party.

"The DPRD leaders allegedly asked for money, collected money, held a meeting to discuss the matter, asked to be allocated a project and each received Rp 100 million to Rp 600 million," KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo said at a press conference on Friday.

On Dec. 6, the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced suspended Jambi governor Zumi Zola Zulkifli to six years behind bars after finding him guilty of accepting gratuity and channeling bribes to provincial legislative council members in transactions related to the deliberation of provincial budgets.

Judges also ordered the defendant to pay a fine of Rp 500 million (US$34,362) or serve an additional three months in prison. The sentence is lighter than the eight years' imprisonment and Rp 1 billion fine demanded by KPK prosecutors. (ggq)



Bali governor bans use of plastic, Styrofoam

Tempo - December 24, 2018

Rofiqi Hasan (Contributor), Jakarta -- Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced the ban of using the plastic bag, styrofoam, and plastic straws, on Monday, December 24.

The ban stipulated in Governor Regulation (Pergub) No. 97/2018 is aimed at suppressing the number of plastic waste that is hoped to reach 70 percent within a year.

"That is my plan to preserve the nature of Bali, as well as to keep the quality of tourism industry," Wayan said.

The adaptation period to the new regulation is six months since it was signed and took effect on December 21.

The regulation governs the types of plastic and limitation of plastic usage, the use of a product, regional plan, public's role, education and funding, as well as reward and administrative sanction. But the reward and sanction are still under the discussion within the governor's team.

The team comprising of regional officials, academicians, NGOs, businesses, as well as customary and religious figures will provide education, training, technical support and other activities to limit the use of plastic to the public in Bali.



Asia Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN)