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Indonesia News Digest 22 – June 8-14, 2018

West Papua Human rights & justice Labour & migrant workers Political parties & elections Environment & natural disasters Health & education Tertiary education & campus life LGBT & same-sex marriage Corruption & abuse of power Terrorism & religious extremism Religion & politics Cultural & religious events National holidays & celebrations Jakarta & urban life Retail & service industry Armed forces & police Free trade & neoliberalism Foreign affairs & trade Analysis & opinion

West Papua

Malaita support for free West Papua intact

Solomon Star News - June 14, 2018

Malaita provincial government has maintained its support and stand for a free West Papua.

This was highlighted during a dialogue held in Auki last month between representatives from the national government, civil society, Indonesian government and Malaita provincial government.

The visiting team was led by Rence Sore of the Prime Minister's office to discuss matters to revive Malaita province policy toward Indonesia for Malaita people to have right a perspective to Indonesia government and ways to create positive relationship with Malaita province government.

This is an effort to clarify past rumours and negative publications against the Indonesian government's treatment to original West Papua people.

The Malaita provincial secretary Jackson Gege confirmed that they have met with the visiting team.

He said their visit mainly was to talk on reviving a Malaita province policy towards the Indonesian government purposely to understand Indonesia's intentions well.

However, based on a conclusion passed by the Malaita provincial government, Mr Gege said Malaita will continue to support the free West Papua campaign.

"Malaita provincial government will continue to put its support behind the free West Papua campaign," Mr Gege said.

It's understood a similar dialogue has been conducted in other provinces.

Source: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/index.php/news/national/item/20491-malaita-support-for-free-west-papua-intact

Kontras urges Jokowi to resolve Wasior incident 17 years ago in Papua

Jakarta Post - June 14, 2018

Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to take concrete steps to resolve alleged gross human rights violations in Wasior, Papua, on Wednesday, the 17th anniversary of the incident.

"Kontras regrets and criticizes the lack of action of President Jokowi's administration in dealing with and resolving human rights abuses in Papua," Kontras commisioner Yati Andriyani said in a statement on Wednesday.

The incident, which took place on June 13, 2001, was triggered when five members of the National Police's Mobile Brigade (Brimob) and one civilian were killed after a dispute between residents and timber company PT Vatika Papuana Perkasa.

During a search for the perpetrators, Brimob members allegedly committed gross human rights violations in the form of murder, torture and abduction.

A National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) investigation into the incident found that at least four people were killed, 39 injured from torture, five abducted and one sexually abused.

The case was submitted to the Attorney General's Office for prosecution in 2004 but has seen little progress since then.

During his campaign for president in 2014, Jokowi had promised to resolve past human rights violations, including the Wasior incident.

"Instead of fulfilling that promise, Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said on June 1 this year that gross human rights abuses were difficult to resolve through judicial processes," Yati said. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/14/kontras-urges-jokowi-to-resolve-wasior-incident-17-years-ago-in-papua.html

Five West Papuans allegedly arrested by new military counter-terrorism

Tabloid JUBI - June 13, 2018

Jayapura – Five civilians in Timika have allegedly been arrested by the newly reactivated military counter-terrorism unit for aspiring to West Papuan independence.

"At 10pm on Saturday June 9, Orpa Wanjomal (40) and his stepson Polce Sugumol (31) were arrested at their home in the SP 2 [housing unit] in Timika. Five hours later, at 3am in the morning, on Sunday June 10, Titus Kwalik was arrested at the SP 10. At the same time Julianus Dekme (31) and Alosius Ogolmagai (49) were arrested at Julianus' house at the SP 6. The five civilians were arrested for aspiring to Papuan independence", said United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) spokesperson Jakob Rumbiak by phone on Wednesday June 13.

Rumbiak said that the Joint Special Operations Command (Koopssusgab) was involved in the arrests. The Koopssusgab is a joint military counter-terrorism unit, which was recently reactivated in concert with revisions to the Anti-Terrorism Law, and is under the direct authority of Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

The commando unit, according to House of Representatives (DPR) Commission I chairperson Abdul Kharis Almasyhari was formed to assist in dealing with terrorism under certain conditions if the national police request assistance.

Under the revisions to the 2003 Anti-Terrorism Law, which were enacted on May 25, said Almasyhari, there are additional regulations which make it more comprehensive, including the possibility of involving the TNI (Indonesian military) under certain conditions.

"However the Koopssusgab apparently can't be formed yet because they don't have a budget yet", said Almasyhari on Friday last week.

Nevertheless, the ULMWP is sure that the arrests were carried out by Koopssusgab. "The use of the special military anti-terrorist force against West Papuan civilians is irresponsible and morally wrong", said Rumbiak.

Furthermore, the West Papuan people are not terrorists, and have never carried out terrorist acts unlike Indonesian terrorists or extremists.

The West Papuan people's right to self-determination is guaranteed under the Indonesian Constitution, the United Nations Human Rights Charter, UN General Assembly Resolution 1514 (1960), the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights (2007) and UN General Assembly Resolution 1752 Chapters XVII and XII.

Tabloid JUBI has attempted to contact Mimika District Police Chief Assistant Superintendent Agung Marlianto via WhatsApp for clarification of the alleged arrests. As of posting this article however, Marlianto has not responded.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "ULMWP: 5 warga sipil Timika ditangkap karena aspirasi Papua Merdeka".]

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/artikel-16954-ulmwp–5-warga-sipil-timika-ditangkap-karena-aspirasi-papua-merdeka.html

Green co-leader slams human rights 'obscenity' over West Papua

Asia Pacific Report - June 12, 2018

Rahul Bhattarai, Auckland – Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson last night condemned the "obscenity" of jailing West Papuans by Indonesian authorities for raising their Morning Star flag of independence.

Speaking at the launch of the West Papua solidarity "desk" at the First Union community office in Onehunga, Davidson said she was upholding the party's long standing solidarity for the indigenous Melanesians in their search for self-determination and independence.

About 25 people supporting the cause of West Papua gathered at the event in a bid to raise awareness in New Zealand over the ongoing issue of human rights violations in West Papua by the Indonesian government.

"It's a privilege to launch the desk because we need to continue to do the work to raise awareness and to stand in solidarity with the people of West Papua," Davidson said.

Davidson, along with the cultural group Oceania Interrupted, are creating an activist action of performance to "disturb" public places to help raise awareness as Maori and Pacific women of the Pacific.

"We are standing in solidarity with women leaders of indigenous movements around the world and around the Pacific," she said.

Davidson has also asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to call on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to account and to raise the human rights issues.

Indonesia has just been elected to the UN Security Council for a two-year term.

Facing imperialism

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman said that this was a "solidarity movement for both the people of Pacific and across the world – it's part of the imperialism that people are experiencing".

She added that the people of West Papua were facing militarised oppression by the Indonesian government in order to seize their resources. "West Papuan culture and heritage is violently suppressed for access to their natural minerals," she said.

Human rights and peace activist Marie Leadbeater, author of the forthcoming book See No Evil, said that West Papua was a close Melanesian neighbour which had been under Indonesian control since 1963 against the will of Papuan people.

She said: "They were promised self-determination and an opportunity to become an independent nation, the same as other independent nations in the Pacific."

That promise had not yet been fulfilled and as a result the West Papuan people had been resisting or campaigning, which came at a huge price, including the loss of thousands of lives due to the conflict with the Indonesian government.

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/06/12/green-co-leader-slams-human-rights-obscenity-over-west-papua/

New hub reflects NZ grassroots support for West Papua

Radio New Zealand International - June 11, 2018

A growing grassroots solidarity network has prompted the establishment of a West Papua Desk in New Zealand.

The desk was officially opened this evening in Auckland by Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and fellow MP Golriz Ghahraman.

According to Ms Davidson, the desk would be a hub for organising events, hosting international guests and raising awareness about issues around West Papuan independence aspirations and human rights violations in Indonesian ruled Papua.

"It's to create a dedicated space for civil society activists and movements to support the cause for West Papua independence and self-determination," she explained.

She said that in recent years a strong Pacific and Maori delegation in particular had engaged on West Papua by using their community organising skills "to reach into ordinary households to get solidarity".

Indonesia's government says it is addressing historical human rights abuses in Papua, while devoting more resources to economic development in the country's remote New Guinea territory.

However Ms Davidson said serious human right abuses continued to occur in Papua, and that it was of increasing concern to people in New Zealand.

"There's been a particular rising with young Maori activism students who align the issues of self-determination that are happening here with what is happening in West Papua."

The desk is hosted at the Onehunga offices of First Union, and is to be run by voluntary efforts by West Papua Auckland and other members of the solidarity network.

"There are posits of organising campaigns happening around Aotearoa, and they are getting so strong that we're realising that it would be efficient and strategic to have a centralising desk," Ms Davidson said.

"And that's to actually highlight more the work that is happening around different community campaigns standing in support."

The MP admitted that West Papua solidarity was a matter of sensitivity for Indonesia whose president, Joko Widodo, visited New Zealand in March.

West Papua issues did not feature prominently in the president's discussions with New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern. The talks had a focus on growing trade between the two countries.

Ms Davidson said that trade agreements tended to undermine human rights issues.

"I think what New Zealanders are coming to terms with is that that's no longer good enough, that we need to make sure that we are highlighting human rights issues, and that we do not see any trade agreements or any diplomatic relationships as an excuse to push those under the carpet."

The desk would give "a clearer light on what is actually happening in West Papua", according to Ms Davidson, who said it was important that the solidarity initiative was being driven "from the ground".

Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/359361/new-hub-reflects-nz-grassroots-support-for-west-papua

Human rights & justice

Is Widodo just paying pre-election lip service to human rights?

South China Morning Post - June 8, 2018

Jeffrey Hutton – While she was a student at University of Indonesia, Raisa Widiastari began volunteering with the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence, a big national NGO dedicated to raising awareness for the victims of human rights abuses. She saw it as a way to make her country confront its chequered past.

But last year, Widiastari herself became a victim of abuse. In September, she and about 200 other activists were trapped in a building by Islamic vigilantes for more than eight hours on suspicion they were harbouring communists.

So when President Joko Widodo agreed last week to meet her and other activists who gathered outside the presidential palace to protest against the government's seeming inaction on human rights issues, you might think she would be excited. She wasn't.

"Jokowi lies. He is just trying to raise hopes before 2019," Widiastari says, referring to next year's presidential election.

After disappointing the very activists who helped sweep him to victory in 2014, Widodo is in the middle of a charm offensive to help bring them back on board ahead of elections next year.

Late last week, for the first time he met victims and their relatives who had gathered outside his official residence every Thursday, rain or shine, for more than decade. Days earlier his administration agreed to drop a ban on gay sex in a revised criminal code. But for many like Widiastari, the overtures are too little, too late. "He just wants us to choose him again," says Widiastari who refused to meet Widodo.

Widodo's troubles with human rights activists started during his election campaign, when he promised to confront the country's dark past and make amends on behalf of victims of abuse. Item No. 4 in his nine-point election platform, Nawacita – Sanskrit for priorities – was a vow to resolve historic human rights abuses.

To be sure there have been attempts to make good on his promises. He directed his top lieutenant, Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs, to look into evidence of mass graves dating back to the anti-communist purges, as well as splashing out on much needed infrastructure in poor and remote Papua.

But activists say the measures resulted in few tangible results, in part because of the company Widodo keeps. Pandjaitan, who has publicly scoffed at the notion of mass graves, was a general during the dictatorship of former president Suharto. Accompanying Widodo in his meeting with the Thursday group was Wiranto, his security minister who is wanted for war crimes by the United Nations.

Earlier this year, in a bid to appease religious conservatives, Widodo agreed to include a ban on sex outside marriage and to expand the definition of sexual molestation to include consensual sex among adults of the same gender.

But last week the administration backed off the ban in the proposed revision of its criminal code. Widodo's parliamentary deputy who is overseeing the revision, Enny Nurbaningsih, said the government would remove all mention of same-sex relations. The wording now simply enjoins Indonesians from engaging in "indecent" sex.

The change of heart comes after a torrent of lurid headlines over the country's treatment of its homosexuals, including the public caning of two young gay men in Aceh. In February, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein publicly criticised the efforts to criminalise homosexuality.

Even so, with the government now in the business of regulating sex between adults, police are no less likely to harass the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) citizens, says Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch. Last year police rounded up more than 200 gay men.

"The changes aren't enough to prevent law enforcement officials and vigilantes from using those articles to raid and to abuse potential victims," he says.

Widodo's meeting with the Thursday protesters, who are known locally as Kamisan – derived from the Indonesian word for Thursday – came only after activists forced his hand.

Every Thursday for 11 years about 50 protesters assemble outside the presidential palace just ahead of evening rush hour calling on the administration to investigate abuses ranging from suspected mass killings in Papua, to the thousands of disappearances of dissidents during Suharto's dictatorships, to the shootings of unarmed students who struggled to bring his regime to an end.

Widodo's attorney general, Muhammad Prasetyo, has refused to investigate the alleged human rights abuses owing, he says, to the lack of evidence. Prasetyo hasn't even brought charges against the hardliners who trapped Widiastari and other activists, even though their faces were broadcast on television.

Last September thugs linked to the hardline group Islamic Defenders Front encircled the headquarters of Jakarta Legal Aid Institute as the human rights group convened a symposium focusing on the 1965 anti-communist purges. They hurled bottles and rocks into the window and attempted to force their way past police, injuring many officers.

For two weeks following the siege, Widiastari couldn't return to her family, fearing she would lead attackers to them.

"Jokowi's meeting with Kamisan created an impression that the administration wanted to have a useful photo opportunity," said Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsono.

It wasn't always like this. Slamet Rahardjo remembers a time when Widodo wasn't so circumspect.

Rahardjo, an HIV/Aids activist in Solo, Central Java, where Widodo was mayor for seven years until 2012, said Widodo took meetings with him and other LGBT residents and would attend community events such as Solo Batik Carnival.

"Most of the designers and the models were gay and he still came," Rahardjo said. Those events, often used to raise awareness of HIV, were safe. he recalls.

While Rahardjo understands Widodo has more at stake now as president relative to when he was a running a medium-sized town, he worries that his former mayor has lost his voice in fear of upsetting conservatives.

"His silence has been disappointing on LGBT issues," Rahardjo says. "We just want him to say that LGBT people are citizens of Indonesia, too."

Source: http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/2149952/widodo-just-paying-pre-election-lip-service-human-rights

Indonesia backpedals on accountability for past atrocities

Human Rights Watch Dispatches - June 8, 2018

Phelim Kine – The Indonesian government is backing away from commitments to provide accountability for grave past human rights abuses.

Indonesia's Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo dismissed a report on past rights abuses compiled by the official National Commission on Human Rights and submitted to his office as "opinions and assumptions." Prasetyo also noted the difficulties in investigating decades' old cases, including that witnesses and perpetrators may no longer be alive, but said nothing about overcoming those obstacles and achieving justice for the victims and their families. More than anything else, this speaks volumes about the government's lack of enthusiasm for pursuing accountability for past atrocities.

The government has been silent on plans announced in May 2015 for a "reconciliation commission" that would pursue a "permanent solution for all unresolved human rights abuses" of the past half-century. Those abuses include the government-orchestrated massacres of 1965-66 that resulted in up to one million deaths, violations by government security forces in the restive provinces of Papua and West Papua, and a campaign of extrajudicial killings linked to security forces between 1982 and 1985 known as the Petrus shootings.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had originally assigned his then-security minister, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, to oversee that process. But Jokowi's replacement of Pandjaitan in July 2016 with former general Wiranto, who was indicted for crimes against humanity in East Timor by a United Nations-sponsored tribunal, has fueled doubts about his government's commitment to the accountability process.

Jokowi supporters have told Human Rights Watch that in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2019, the president should avoid potentially divisive issues such as accountability for past human rights abuses. But this ignores the importance for victims and the rule of law of holding those most responsible for serious crimes to account. Jokowi should instead recognize that he has a historic opportunity to start the process of bringing meaningful justice to the huge number of Indonesians affected by past rights violations and direct his attorney-general to facilitate that process rather than bemoan its challenges.

Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/08/indonesia-backpedals-accountability-past-atrocities

Rights body expresses reservations about National Reconciliation Council

Detik News - June 8, 2018

Andhika Prasetia, Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) met with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo today. During the meeting, Widodo asked for input related to the formation of a National Reconciliation Council (DKN) to resolve past human rights cases.

"Earlier Bapak [Mr] President asked our opinion on a National Reconciliation Council. Basically Komnas HAM [still] uses as a reference Law Number 26 [2000 on a Human Rights Court] Article 47 which states that the resolution of gross human rights violations can be undertaken by means of forming a Truth and Reconciliation Commission", said Komnas HAM chairperson Ahmad Taufan Damanik at the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta on Friday June 8.

Taufan explained that [if] the one and only measure undertaken is the formation of a DKN then it will be political policy decision on Widodo's part. Komnas HAM suggested to Widodo that if a DKN is formed then the government must first acknowledge past cases of human rights violations which have yet to be resolved.

"First there must be steps to acknowledge the truth of these gross human rights violations. Then a statement of remorse or an apology in the name of the state to the victims and all of Indonesian society. After that there could be efforts at reconciliation and or rehabilitation of the victims and their families", said Taufan.

Earlier, the government said it would form a DKN with Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto inviting several national figures to discuss the DKN's mission. The DKN will comprise 17 members.

"Primarily (the DKN's mission) will only go as far as matters which do not go through a judicial process, beyond this process we want to revive a mediation mechanism which will have a cultural, traditional, a harmonious national life approach", said former Constitutional Court (MK) chief justice and Association of Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals (ICMI) general chairperson Jimly Assiddiqie at the Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto (Kemenko Polhukam) offices on Jl Medan Merdeka Barat in Central Jakarta on Tuesday June 5. (dkp/idh)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Jokowi Minta Masukan Komnas HAM soal Dewan Kerukunan Nasional".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/4059838/jokowi-minta-masukan-komnas-ham-soal-dewan-kerukunan-nasional

Labour & migrant workers

Garuda pilots renew threat, plan to strike in July

Jakarta Post - June 13, 2018

Farida Susanty, Jakarta – National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia Pilots' Association (APG) and workers union (Sekarga) have renewed their threat to strike, saying they would do so in the second week of July – the deadline for the company and the government to meet their demand.

Previously, the airline pilots planned to go on strike during the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus), but they postponed the plan to avoid further complicating the peak traveling season.

Currently, the government has been mediating the airline's management and the APG in resolving the issues that have caused the dispute over the last two years.

"We really appreciate the government's move under Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister [Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan] to help solve the mismanagement problem within Garuda Indonesia," Sekarga chairman Ahmad Irfan said in an official joint statement with APG.

He acknowledged that the result of the ongoing discussion will be yielded by the first week of July.

"Considering [the timing of the decision], we declare that we will go on strike as late as the second week of July 2018 if there is still no best solution from the government," he said.

However, the association also stated that it supported the operation during the busy mudik period in Idul Fitri.

The association has previously brought up issues such as alleged mismanagement within the airline board that has resulted in declining operational and financial performance.

The government has established a working group consisting of representatives from the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry and the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, among others, to solve the problems. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/13/garuda-pilots-renew-threat-plan-to-strike-in-july.html

Indonesia, Vietnam discuss minimum wage for workers

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – Vice President Jusuf Kalla and Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh discussed the minimum wage for workers in Southeast Asia and the fate of Vietnamese fishermen in Indonesia during their bilateral meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday.

In the meeting, Kalla and Binh agreed to coordinate and hold further discussions on the minimum wage for industrial workers in the region.

Kalla said establishing a minimum wage was important to ensure better welfare for workers in neighboring countries that are investment destinations for labor-intensive industries, such as Vietnam.

"We want to cooperate to ensure that workers [in the region] are not continuously pressed upon by the industry," Kalla said on Tuesday. "We are also talking about establishing a minimum wage in ASEAN."

Kalla said industrial competition should not forsake the welfare of workers, whose salary was relatively low due to intense competition in labor-intensive industries.

Vietnam is among Indonesia's major competitors in Southeast Asia for investment in labor-intensive industries. In 2015, Indonesia's monthly average minimum wage stood at US$123, higher than Vietnam at $118.

Kalla said the collaboration was still at an early stage. Binh also requested Jakarta's attention over Vietnamese fishermen being detained by Indonesian authorities for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters, he added.

"We will process them through the legal system and I said [to Binh] that we will immediately conclude it so that our bilateral relations with Vietnam will not be disrupted." (ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/12/indonesia-vietnam-discuss-minimum-wage-for-workers.html

Political parties & elections

TItiek Soeharto: Family agrees to support Partai Berkarya

Tempo - June 14, 2018

Jakarta – Siti Hediati Hariadi, also known as Titiek Soeharto, said that children of former Indonesian President Soeharto have agreed to support in growing Partai Berkarya, which was established by Soeharto's son Hutama Mandala Putra, also known as Tommy Soeharto.

"We, Pak Harto's family, has agreed to help Tommy in making Partai Berkarya bigger," Titieksaid during his visit to the An-Nur Islamic Boarding School in Bantul, Yogyakarta on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.

Tommy Soeharto is currently the Chairman of Partai Berkarya, meanwhile, Titiek has been appointed as the Chief of the party's Advisory Council following her resignation from the Functional Group Party on Monday, June 11, 2018.

Titiek said that although currently there are only two out of six Soeharto's children are involved in the organizational structure of Partai Berkarya, the others will be providing support from behind the scene.

"Not all [of Soeharto's children] will be in the party's structure, currently only me and Tommy have joined, but all of Pak Harto's family provides full support," Titiek said.

Titiek further explained that there are possibilities that her other siblings will join the party. For example, Siti Hediati Rukmana, also known as Mbak Tutut, Soeharto's eldest children is said to join the new party in the near future.

"For the joining declaration [of other Soeharto's family], we have no information, but probably not in the party's structure, but as supporters," Titiek added.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/14/055919229/TItiek-Soeharto-Family-Agrees-to-Support-Partai-Berkarya

KPU defends regulation on banning corruption-tainted candidates

Jakarta Post - June 13, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – The General Elections Commission (KPU) has defended its stance not to allow ex-corruption, drugs and sexual assault convicts to run in the 2019 legislative election, despite receiving pushback, including by the Law and Human Rights Ministry.

In the latest move, the ministry returned the KPU Regulation (PKPU) to the commission and asked it to reconsider the regulation before the ministry validated it. The KPU asserted it would not revise any part of the regulation.

"We maintain our stance that ex-corruption, drugs and sexual assault convicts should not be allowed to be legislative candidates. All those crimes have motives," KPU commissioner Pramono Ubaid Tanthowi said Tuesday.

The KPU began drafting the regulation in December last year, despite objections from the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the House of Representatives, which accused the commission of violating Law No. 7/2017 on general elections.

The law states that former graft convicts who have served sentences of more than five years can run in legislative elections as long as they publicly declare their status.

The PKPU is intended to ensure clean elections and produce legislators that have integrity in response to concerns over the growing number of arrests of legislative council members.

The Law and Human Rights Ministry's law and regulations director general Widodo Ekatjahjana said the ministry asked the KPU to revise the PKPU to bring it in line with the Elections Law. Therefore, the ministry has postponed the validation of the PKPU. (ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/13/kpu-defends-regulation-on-banning-corruption-tainted-candidates.html

Gerindra's deputy of general secretary quits because of Fadli Zon

Tempo - June 13, 2018

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Deputy of General Secretary of the Central Executive Board (Wasekjen DPP) Gerindra Party Mohammad Nuruzzaman said he quit from the Gerindra Party.

The reason, one of them is because of the statement of Deputy Chairman of Gerindra Party Fadli Zon, which he considered insulting the members of the Presidential Advisory Council, Yahya Cholil Staquf.

Fadli Zon insinuated Yahya Cholil's activities to Israel to deliver a public lecture at an event organized by The Israel Council on Foreign Relations, as a shameful act for the Indonesian nation.

"Visiting Israel only for talking like that. This is a shame for the Indonesian people. There is no sensitivity for the Palestinian struggle. #2019GantiPresident" tweeted Fadli Zon from his twitter account @fadlizon.

"My anger culminated in Fadli Zon's insult to my kiai (religious role), KH Yahya Cholil Staquf over an event in Israel that was enlivened and diverted into a political issue over the president's successor issue.

For santri (students of Islamic boarding school), the insult to kiai is about self-respect and dignity," said Nurruzaman when contacted by Tempo on Tuesday evening, June 12.

Another reason for the resignation of Nurruzaman from Gerindra, he said, because of the Gerindra Party is not in line with his way of struggle.

"Gerindra turns into a vehicle of interest that is no longer characterized by concern and courage, but it has turned into a fragile machine that only pursues the interest," said Nurruzaman.

Nurruzaman explained, his resignation has not been officially submitted to the party. However, he has been firmly declared quit from the Gerindra Party. "After the Eid Day, I will convey to the party," said Nurruzaman who is currently in Cirebon.

On that basis, Nuruzzaman said, he quit from Gerindra and declared that he would fight against the party and the party elites. Meanwhile, he said he has not taken steps to migrate to another party or not become a cadre of political parties again. "I'm still considering," Nueuzzaman said.

Gerindra Party General Deputy Chairman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said he had never heard of Nurruzaman's resignation directly. The official resignation to the party, said Dasco, has not been done. "I just heard the news of his resignation from social media, recently," said Dasco when confirmed.

Meanwhile, regarding the allegations and reasons for the resignation revealed by Nurruzaman, Dasco did not respond.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/13/055919186/Gerindras-Deputy-of-General-Secretary-Quits-Because-of-Fadli-Zon

Agus Yudhoyono considers running with VP Kalla in 2019 election

Jakarta Post - June 13, 2018

Margareth Aritonang, Jakarta – Democratic Party executive Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono is considering contesting next year's presidential race alongside Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

Agus, the son of the party's patron Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said he was exploring the possibility of running in the election as Kalla's vice president should a potential Kalla-AHY ticket manage to garner enough support.

"It [the Kalla-AHY option] is definitely under our consideration," Agus stated at his office in South Jakarta on Wednesday.

Agus said, however, that the Democratic Party would remain open to other possibilities, and would continue to study other potential candidates.

Agus said that among the requirements he looked for from a potential partner in the election was the ability to help set up a coalition of parties that would control 20 percent of seats in the House of Representatives or 25 percent of the popular vote, the presidential threshold required by the 2017 Elections Law.

"We must make careful calculations. No matter how enthusiastic we are, we must remember there is the presidential threshold we must fulfill [in order to nominate a presidential candidate pair]," Agus said.

He added that the Democratic Party would carefully search for partners it could establish a coalition with that would meet the presidential threshold requirement.

The Democratic Party's move to consider a Kalla-AHY ticket emerged following the party's recent announcement of its aspiration to establish "Koalisi Kerakyatan" (Populist Coalition) as an alternative to the ruling coalition that is set to back President Joko "Jokowi" Widow's bid for a second term. (ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/13/agus-yudhoyono-considers-running-with-vp-kalla-in-2019-election.html

Titiek Soeharto to hold strategic position in Berkarya Party

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2018

Jakarta – Siti Hediati Haryadi, popularly known as Titiek Soeharto, will reportedly serve as the coordinator of electorate district commands for the Berkarya Party, one of the strategic positions in the new party she has decided to join after leaving the Golkar Party.

"It is true, Mbak Titiek Soeharto has joined the Berkarya Party where she will hold a senior and strategic position in the party's structure," Berkarya secretary-general Priyo Budi Santoso said as quoted by Antara on Tuesday.

Priyo said that besides coordinating all of the legislative candidates across Indonesia, Titiek would also run as the party's candidate for a House of Representatives seat representing Yogyakarta.

Titiek announced that she had resigned from Golkar to join Berkarya, which is led by her brother, Hutomo Mandala Putra, or Tommy Soeharto, in Bantul, Yogyakarta, on Monday.

Titiek and Tommy are the children of Indonesia's second president, Soeharto, whose 32-year New Order regime ended in 1998 following massive student protests against the administration's corruption and nepotism.

In her declaration on joining Berkarya, Titiek said she was saddened by the condition of Indonesia's poor.

"There are around 7 million unemployed people who live in poor conditions in Indonesia now," she said. She added that her voice had never been heard in Golkar, which is currently in President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's coalition. (gis/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/12/titiek-soeharto-to-hold-strategic-position-in-berkarya-party.html

Tommy Soeharto on Berkarya party's future presidential candidate

Tempo - June 12, 2018

Pribadi Wicaksono, Jakarta – Chairman of the newly formed Berkarya Party, Hutomo Mandala Putra more known as Tommy Soeharto who is the son of late President Soeharto, is more optimistic facing the 2019 presidential election following the arrival of his sister, Titiek Soeharto into the party structure.

Titiek was previously an active senior politician at Golkar Party before deciding to jump ship to her brother's political party. Tommy Soeharto had even set a target of obtaining 80 seats at the House of Representatives (DPR) and three slots at the Regional Legislative Council (DPRD).

This begs the question of who the person Berkarya Party will submit in the upcoming 2019 presidential election.

"It is still too early to talk about who our future presidential candidate will be," said Tommy at Yogyakarta on Monday, June 11. He only suggested that his party is still monitoring the potential candidates that will officially register in August of 2018.

However, Tommy mentioned that the criteria his party is seeking is a presidential candidate that has the most support from the majority of voters, even if that would mean supporting and endorsing PDI-P's incumbent candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.

He further suggested that the party is still focusing its efforts on reaching a target of dominating the parliamentary slots through the formation of volunteers in outer regions. Berkarya Party currently has 1,000 dedicated volunteers in the Java Island and 500 outside of Java.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/12/055919146/Tommy-Soeharto-on-Berkarya-Partys-Future-Presidential-Candidate

Titiek Soeharto leaves Golkar, joins Tommy at Berkarya

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2018

Jakarta – Siti Hediati Herijadi, better known as Titiek Soeharto, the second daughter of former president Soeharto, declared on Monday her withdrawal from the Golkar Party.

"I have decided to withdraw from the Golkar Party and choose to fight for the interests of the people through the Berkarya Party," she said in Yogyakarta on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.

The Berkarya Party was founded in 2016 by Titiek's younger brother, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, and will take part in the 2019 legislative elections. Tommy himself is a former Golkar member who left in 2016 after a failed bid for chairmanship

Titiek said she was moved to make the decision out of concern for the direction in which the country was heading, citing the influx of foreign workers and continued food imports as examples.

"I want to scream to protest and voice the people's conscience, but I was unable to do that because I was a member of Golkar, which is one of the parties that support the government," she said.

She further said she was prepared to relinquish her seat in the House of Representatives as a consequence of her withdrawal, adding that she was confident she would be able to win it back next year.

Titiek had been a Golkar member since 2012 and won a House seat with the party in 2014. Golkar was Soeharto's political vehicle from 1971 until the end of his regime in 1998. (kmt/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/11/titiek-soeharto-leaves-golkar-joins-tommy-at-berkarya.html

Democratic party initiates to form people's coalition

Tempo - June 11, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Democratic Party central board (DPP) for advocacy and legal aid division chairman Ferdinand Hutahaean stated his party was currently initiating to form People's Coalition.

He said the idea came from the journey record of the party's chair Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono to many Indonesian regions.

"The idea was initiated by Pak SBY, but the name was suggested by the community when Pak SBY and AHY visited the archipelago," said Ferdinand in a short message to Tempo, Sunday, June 10.

Earlier, Ferdinand said the coalition was brought up after the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party chairman Prabowo Subianto met Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab in Mecca. Gerindra reportedly approached the Democratic party for a possible coalition.

Ferdinand mentioned the FPI did not invite the Democratic Party to join the coalition since Rizieq was once imprisoned by the authorities under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono leadership.

After the meeting between Prabowo and Rizieq Shihab, Ferdinand added, Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or SBY issued an instruction to form a similar coalition namely people's or archipelago's coalition which was currently under discussion with other parties. "Everything will be revealed after the simultaneous regional election in July. So now, it is now in the beginning phase," he added.

However, Ferdinand did not further detail the parties. Democratic party, he said, was currently issuing material test to the Constitutional Court regarding presidential threshold at 20 percent.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/11/055919110/Democratic-Party-Initiates-to-Form-Peoples-Coalition

PAN 'seriously considering' Amien Rais as presidential candidate

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2018

Jakarta – National Mandate Party (PAN) deputy chairman Viva Yoga Mauladi has said that the party was seriously considering its founder and honorary council head, Amien Rais, to run for president in the 2019 election.

Viva said the party believed that the former People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker had the capacity to lead Indonesia.

"Pak Amien has the integrity to become a national leader. He loves NKRI [the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia] and the Indonesian people," Viva said in Jakarta, as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday.

The primary figure behind the 1998 Reform movement also had a clear concept to lead Indonesia in achieving the goals of independence, he added.

Amien has been one of most outspoken critics of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, and has been named as one of the politicians reportedly throwing their weight behind the #2019Ganti President movement.

Viva said that although Amien was 74 years old, he was still in excellent physical health, so he was capable of fulfilling his duty.

Apart from Amien, several other PAN leaders are being pitched as candidates, including PAN chairman Zulkifli Hasan, former party chairman Hatta Rajasa and advisory council head Sutrisno Bachir.

"After the regional elections on June 27, PAN will hold a national working meeting to decide on its candidates for president and vice president," said Viva. (hol/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/11/pan-seriously-considering-amien-rais-as-presidential-candidate.html

Environment & natural disasters

Scientific evidence needed to support Balikpapan coal pollution claims:

Jakarta Post - June 14, 2018

N.Adri, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan – Business entities, in conjunction with the Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI), have said scientific evidence is needed to prove that coal loading and unloading activities have caused pollution in waters off Manggar, Balikpapan, East Kalimantan.

"This is because physically, we know that coal is rock and cannot be dispersed by water," APBI chairman Eko Prayitno said on Tuesday.

He said coal loading and unloading activities must be conducted offshore because buyers arrived with large cargo vessels with capacities of between 60,000 and 100,000 metric tons. "It is much more effective and efficient for it to be done at sea," Eko said, adding there was only a small chance coal would fall into the sea.

On June 9, around 200 fishermen from Manggar staged a mass protest by surrounding a coal processing boat in Manggar, around eight miles from shore. They demanded the coal workers cease their loading and unloading activities as it disturbed their fishing.

According to the fishermen, a significant amount of coal had fallen into the sea, and that they were more likely to catch coal than fish or shrimp. "We can only pull in coal now," said Sakkirang, a 50-year-old fisherman who organized the mass protest. (dpk/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/13/scientific-evidence-needed-to-support-balikpapan-coal-pollution-claims-association.html

Plastic waste remains challenge for Indonesia as World Oceans Day is

Jakarta Post - June 8, 2018

Jakarta – As World Oceans Day is marked on Friday, Indonesia is faced with huge amounts of waste polluting its waters.

Research by the People's Coalition for Fisheries Justice (KIARA) has revealed that at least 1.29 million tons of waste is dumped into rivers every year, with 13,000 tons of plastic waste per square kilometer polluting the ocean.

According to KIARA secretary-general Susan Herawati, Indonesia was the second-worst polluter after China when it came to ocean plastic waste.

"Many people tend to think that the ocean is a huge dump site instead of a source of food," she said in a written statement received by The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The KIARA research and development center also recorded 37 oil spills from 1998 to 2017. The most recent case occurred this year in the Balikpapan bay, considered as Indonesia's worst environmental disaster in the past 10 years.

Oil spills cause severe environmental damage to the ocean and are very difficult to clean up.

"We need a consistent policy from the government to overcome this matter. The government also needs to educate people to raise awareness on the importance of the ocean," Susan said. (dpk/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/08/plastic-waste-remains-challenge-for-indonesia-as-world-oceans-day-is-celebrated.html

Indonesia needs to act faster against environment crimes: Bodies

Jakarta Post - June 8, 2018

Jakarta – The Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and the Judicial Commission participated in a public discussion held by the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) in Jakarta recently to brainstorm on how to kick-start stalled enforcement of the Environmental Law, especially in dealing with environmental crimes.

Walhi executive director Yaya Nur Hidayati said recently that Indonesia had a law to regulate the environment, but implementation was not efficient. She lamented that government officials lacked awareness about protocol and channels for reporting environmental crimes to initiate immediate investigation.

"The police immediately investigate when a murder occurs," she said earlier this week. There should be the same sense of urgency for environment damage, she said, adding that officials should not just wait to receive complaints before taking action.

She cited the wait-and-see culture among ministry and other agency officials, who take no action until a formal report has been lodged with them by law enforcers and NGOs.

KPK deputy chairman Laode Muhammad Syarif expressed a similar opinion. He was of the opinion that frontline agencies, such as the police, needed to improve their support for prevailing regulations on the environment.

"There are only few specifically trained institutions," he explained, adding that greater awareness and knowledge of the problem must be instilled among the relevant law enforcers.

Yaya pointed out that civil service investigators at every ministry worked by themselves on a basis of current need. She proposed the creation of a specialized task force as a solution.

"An integrated task force could be trained to identify environmental problems more comprehensively," Yaya explained. "This is particularly true in cases of systematic environmental crime with vast negative impact perpetrated by corporations," she said.

Yaya added that it was possible to impose a variety of punitive measures on corporations under the law.

Not many cases against corporations are brought to court. Law Enforcement Director General Rasio Ridho Sani at the Environment and Forestry Ministry said the majority of cases brought to court by his team in the last two years did not involve corporations but individuals.

He said it was not easy to go after corporations because they had power and could afford many lawyers to represent them in court, as well as experts to testify on their behalf.

"We're going after corporations slowly, at our own pace," Rasio said. "If we keep working, gain more experience, of course this will help us in the future." (stu)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/08/indonesia-needs-to-act-faster-against-environment-crimes-bodies.html

Health & education

Fruit and veg off the menu for Indonesian girls as myths fuel

Reuters - June 12, 2018

From fears that eating chicken wings makes it hard to find a husband to beliefs that pineapple jeopardises fertility, a host of food taboos are fuelling malnutrition among Indonesian girls, experts said as they launched an adolescent health drive.

Nutritionists said girls ate very little protein, vegetables or fruit, preferring to fill up with rice and processed snacks which were often sweet or fried.

"Indonesian girls are being left behind when it comes to nutrition," said Kecia Bertermann of Girl Effect, a non-profit that uses mobile technology to empower girls.

"They don't understand why their health is important, nor how nutrition is connected to doing well at school, at work or for their futures."

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF says Indonesia has some of the world's most troubling nutrition statistics. Two in five adolescent girls are thin due to undernutrition, which is a particular concern given many girls begin childbearing in their teens.

Experts said the food taboos were part of a wider system of cultural and social habits leading to poor adolescent nutrition, which could impact girls' education and opportunities.

One myth is that cucumber stimulates excessive vaginal discharge, another that eating pineapple can prevent girls from conceiving later on or cause miscarriages in pregnant women.

Others believe spicy food can cause appendicitis and make breast milk spicy, oily foods can cause sore throats and peanuts can cause acne, while chicken feet – like chicken wings – can cause girls to struggle finding a husband.

Research by Girl Effect found urban girls ate little or no breakfast, snacked on "empty foods" throughout the day and thought feeling full was the same as being well nourished. Snacks tended to be carbohydrate-heavy, leaving girls short of protein, vitamins and minerals.

Girl Effect is teaming up with global organisation Nutrition International to improve girls' eating habits via its Springster mobile app, a platform providing interactive content for girls on health and social issues. If successful, the initiative could be expanded to the Philippines and Nigeria.

Experts said Indonesia was a country with "a double burden of malnutrition" with some people stunted and others overweight but also lacking micronutrients.

Marion Roche, a specialist in adolescent health at Nutrition International, said the poor nutritional knowledge among girls was particularly striking given infant nutrition had improved in Indonesia.

"Adolescent girls don't know what healthy looks like, as health is understood as the absence of illness," she said. "We need to give them the knowledge to make healthy choices."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/11/fruit-and-veg-off-the-menu-for-indonesian-girls-as-myths-fuel-malnutrition.html

Indonesians can expect longer healthy life, but still short

Jakarta Post - June 8, 2018

Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta – Indonesia's healthy life expectancy (HALE) at birth has steadily risen since 2000, but the 2016 figures showed that this was not good enough – at least compared to the global average.

The data indicated how many years a newborn can expect to have a full, healthy life.

The World Health Organization's database shows that Indonesia's HALE average stands at 61.7 years, with women having a longer expectancy at 63 years compared to men at 60.4 years. The global average is 63.3 years for both sexes – 64.8 for women and 62 years for men.

Compared to neighboring Southeast Asian countries, Indonesia is only ahead of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, while on par with the Philippines.

Singapore tops the HALE list in the region by a significant margin. The average Singaporean born in 2016 can expect to live 76.2 years of full health, while the average person in Brunei Darussalam can expect 67.9 years.

The wealthy city-state is also the ranked first in the world, followed by Japan at 74.8 years, Spain at 73.8 years, Switzerland at 73.5 years and France at 73.4 years.

At the bottom five are the Central African Republic, Lesotho, Chad, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire. All these countries have an average healthy life expectancy of less than 50 years.

One highlight from the report is that newborns in China can now expect a longer healthy life at 68.7 years, compared to those born in United States at 68.5 years, as reported by China Daily. The margin is slim, but the US' healthy life expectancy at birth had been steadily falling since 2010, the WHO's records show. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/08/indonesians-can-expect-longer-healthy-life-but-still-short-comparatively.html

Tertiary education & campus life

Two UGM lecturers dismissed after suspected HTI involvement

Jakarta Post - June 9, 2018

Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta – Gadjah Mada University (UGM) in Jogjakarta relieved two lecturers from their structural posts for allegedly being part of Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), a recently-banned organization that is perceived as threatening national integrity and the state ideology of Pancasila.

"The two lecturers will be relieved from their administrative duties effective immediately," said Iva Ariani, UGM's spokesperson, "But we cannot reveal their names as yet because they are still being processed,"

The lecturers were discharged from their positions as laboratory head and dean, both at the Faculty of Engineering, but will continue being lecturers.

This decision was made after the university management had a meeting with the two lecturers to discuss their views on Pancasila. The results of the meeting were submitted to the university council for a recommendation. "The university council's recommendation helps the management make a decision," said Iva.

Last year, a document was circulated that named eight UGM lecturers as suspected HTI members. One of them is Muhammad Kholid Ridwan, a lecturer from the Faculty of Engineering and an administrator of HTI in Bantul, Yogyakarta. (nor/evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/09/two-ugm-lecturers-dismissed-after-suspected-hti-involvement.html

LGBT & same-sex marriage

Indonesia's LGBT crackdown

The Interpreter - June 8, 2018

Febriana Firdaus – Last month, Indonesia's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community was buoyed by a decision to remove the phrase "same-sex" from the article on fornication in the proposed Criminal Code (KUHP) bill, amid a raft of contentious legal changes that have sparked much debate. The decision showed there's still a shred of decency in the country.

The resolution was arrived at after several prominent civil organisations criticised the phrase, and followed six months of tension in the parliament, with human rights defenders arrayed against the government and Islamic parties. Eventually, the government conceded that including the phrase would discriminate against the LGBT community.

Yet it remains far from clear whether this backdown marks a win for the LGBT community in Indonesia, or just a distraction. Over the past two years, the LGBT issue has been used as a political weapon in efforts to seize voters' support in local elections. Ahead of the upcoming national election in 2019, there is every risk the issue will be used in this way again.

2016: A year of proxy war

The proxy LGBT war began after a leaflet on sexual consultation went viral and made headlines in January 2016. The Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies of the University of Indonesia (SGRC-UI) that produced it was accused of being a community "group shelter" for LGBT individuals.

This event was quickly followed by warnings from Vice President Jusuf Kalla about UN Development Program funding for LGBT campaigns in Indonesia. One NGO worker told me it has become common for Indonesia to ban international funding of LGBT issues, Papua, and the 1965 anti-communist crackdown – the three most sensitive issues in the country. The government even sought to have messaging apps such as WhatsApp remove emojis seen as linked to LGBT issues, although this was mostly ignored.

Then, at a dark point in the LGBT panic that seized Indonesia in 2016, came protests that forced the closure of Pondok Pesantren Waria Al-Fatah in Yogyakarta, a sanctuary for waria (transgender people), self-described as having the body of a man but the soul of a woman. Shinta Ratri, founder of the pesantren, told me during a commemoration event in February that it was the first time a demonstration had been so organised. "Before that," she said, "only individuals complained to us."

The pity of it all was on display in Yogyakarta. I observed a religious group that claimed to promote tolerance, yet attacks directed at the LGBT community are portrayed as "amar maruf nahi munkar" (commanding good and forbidding evil, to save the people from sin).

These events, however, were only the beginning of the campaign against LGBT Indonesians.

The hate has increased, and not only from vigilante religious groups. The LGBT issue was used by politicians to demand the attention of the Indonesian religious majority, actions the Jakarta Post described in an editorial as "The politics of gay-bashing" and Human Rights Watch documented as ignorant homophobia.

Even Ridwan Kamil, Mayor of Bandung and one of the most favoured local politicians in Indonesia, disappointed many by not supporting the LGBT community when he declared:

Sexual preferences should be a private matter and cannot be exposed or campaigned about publicly because there are social behaviours that are not acceptable in Indonesia.

2017: Hate speech, persecution, and raids

In 2017, the campaign against the LGBT community shifted to physical intrusions into people's private lives.

The raid of a gay couple's home by a vigilante moral group in Aceh in March was followed by at least four similar incidents: a raid at a gay party in Surabaya; the arrest of more than 140 men at an alleged gay sauna party; the arrest of five alleged lesbians in Medan; and the eviction of 12 women from their homes in West Java, based on prejudiced assumptions of their sexual identity.

Then came the campaign to challenge morality articles within the criminal code. In May, a religious group calling themselves the Family Love Alliance (AILA) filed a petition to make premarital sex and same-sex relationships punishable by up to five years in prison – a petition eventually rejected in the courts.

2018: Anti-LGBT movement in parliament

In 2018, conservative groups, including the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), confidently brought an anti-LGBT campaign to the parliament, seeking a change to the criminal code. The irony of a morality campaign was rich, given a former PKS chairman was jailed in 2013 for corruption, and another PKS member was caught on camera looking at pornographic images on his tablet in parliament.

The attempts to outlaw the LGBT community sparked an opposition campaign by human rights activists and the wider community that led to an eventual government backdown. But efforts to discriminate against the LGBT community continue, particularly at the local level.

The Depok administration in West Java, for instance, has formed an anti-LGBT special force, to "limit the presence of the LGBT community in the city", according to the mayor. Human rights monitors have reported similar instances of discrimination, from Aceh to Kalimantan. Just over a week ago, in West Java, another instance of mob harrassment of two trans women was reported.

Small winds of change

While the government backdown to remove the phrase "same-sex" from Indonesia's criminal code bill has been welcomed as progress, work to protect LGBT Indonesians is far from over. Human rights activists suspect the hate campaign will develop into attempts to include anti-LGBT provisions in changes to broadcasting and national security provisions.

Indonesia's LGBT community also holds out hope that President Joko Widodo will eventually break his silence on the issue, making a bold statement to protect the LGBT community as a minority within Indonesia.

But even the best designed measures to protect the LGBT community will founder if homophobic politicians see political reward in vilification. How many politicians really "understand" the difficulty of being LGBT? Perhaps they are well educated, but not open-minded and brave enough to speak up to support minorities.

The real hope is for a stop to the political gay-bashing in Indonesia.

Source: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/indonesia-lgbt-crackdown

Corruption & abuse of power

KPK orders Blitar, Tulungagung leaders to surrender

Jakarta Post - June 8, 2018

Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has warned Tulungagung Regent Syahri Mulyono and Blitar Mayor Muhammad Samanhudi Anwar to turn themselves in as graft suspects.

"To the mayor of Blitar and the regent of Tulungagung, we ask that you turn yourselves in immediately or we will apprehend you by force," KPK deputy chairman Saut Situmorang said Thursday morning as quoted by tempo.co. He said the KPK did not know the whereabouts of the two but hoped they would turn themselves in by Thursday night.

The KPK named Syahri and Samanhudi graft suspects following two sting operations on Wednesday. The KPK detained four suspects and seized Rp 2.5 billion (US$180 million), a bank transaction form and construction project notes.

KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah said the KPK had enough evidence to name Syahri and Samanhudi graft suspects despite never having brought them in for questioning.

Regent Syahri Mulyono is suspected of accepting Rp 1 billion in bribes related to a road-construction project in addition to Rp 1.5 billion in two previous installments.

Agung Prayitno, Sutrisno and Susilo Prabowo have also been declared suspects in Syahri's case. They are respectively a middleman, the head of the Tulungagung Public Works Agency and a contractor who bid for the road-construction project.

Meanwhile, Mayor Samanhudi is suspected of accepting Rp 1.5 billion in bribes related to a school construction project worth Rp 23 billion.

Bambang Purnomo and Susilo Prabowo have been declared suspects in Samanhudi's case. They are respectively a middleman and the same contractor in Syahri's case. (nor/kuk)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/08/KPK-orders-blitar-tulungagung-leaders-to-surrender.html

Terrorism & religious extremism

Densus 88 arrests three in Blitar, including one doctor

Jakarta Post - June 14, 2018

Jakarta – Members of the National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad arrested three residents suspected of being connected with terrorist networks in Talun district, Blitar regency, East Java, on Wednesday night.

The three residents were identified only by the initials NH, SZ, and AN. Densus 88 members also raided a house owned by Nanang, a fertilizer businessman, which was being rented by NH, a general practictioner.

"[NH] had a three-year lease, but was very reclusive," Bajang neighborhood head Mislan said as quoted by kompas.com.

Mislan added that he was suspicious about what was going on in the house as previously he had been questioned by military and police officers about who was renting it.

"A week before this incident, people from the Koramil [Subdistrict Military Command] and the police came asking about the people renting the house and whether they were there or not," he said.

Talun subdistrict head Imam Harimiadi also said he had been questioned by the military and police about the house.

"We don't know what they do every day, because the door is closed," he said. "They held an event once, but it was very exclusive, not for the general public. Not just anyone could come in." (kmt)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/14/densus-88-arrests-three-in-blitar-including-one-doctor.html

No more live broadcast of terrorist trials, KPI says

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2018

Jakarta – The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has released a circular notifying public broadcasting bodies, television and radio networks not to live broadcast trials related to terrorism.

In the circular released on Friday, the KPI said it made the decision to uphold the authority of the court, ensure the success of trials, protect the security of court officers and witnesses, as well as curb the potential spread of extreme ideology and prevent people from idolizing terrorists.

In a discussion on the live broadcast of terror trials on May 28, National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said the long-running coverage of terror trials might raise sympathy from certain people and make the suspected terrorist a role model.

"This could inspire people, who are not sure and not interested at first, to become interested [in terrorism]."

Setyo said the police had received harsh protests worldwide when a picture of the suspect of the Bali terror attacks waving and smiling went viral. "'How come [terrorists] get such a big space?' That's what they said," Setyo recalled.

Imam Wahyudi, a member of the Press Council, said authorities must pay attention to both media content and public interests. "The public not only need information on the matter but also a guarantee that they can have a good, safe and peaceful life," Iman said.

On May 25, three days before the discussion, the hearing of Aman Abdurrahman, the key ideologue for the Islamic State movement in Indonesia, was briefly suspended due to explosion-like sounds. (stu/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/11/no-more-live-broadcast-of-terrorist-trials-kpi-says.html

Press to monitor new terrorism law

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2018

Jakarta – The newly enacted Terrorism Law has raised concerns among the press, as it has much broadened definitions that hark back to the legal ambiguity of the authoritarian New Order regime.

In the law, which was passed last month, lawmakers and the government introduced a number of broadened definitions to legitimize stronger preventive measures against terrorism.

Article 13A is of particular concern to the media, as it stipulates that a person who deliberately disseminates speeches, ideas, writings or images to incite terror acts can be penalized with a maximum five years behind bars.

Concern came despite the fact that that provision is exclusive to individuals affiliated with a terrorist organization.

"It can be very much used on journalists and the media," Abdul Manan, the chairman of the Alliance of the Independent Journalists (AJI), said during a recent public discussion.

"That is because a journalist has a duty to inform the public about counterterrorism measures and matters surrounding the terrorists themselves."

The discussion, which was attended by media observers, journalists and representatives of media companies, concluded with a sense for the need to monitor the implementation of the new law.

Former National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Ifdhal Kasim, who now works as an expert staff member at the Office of the Presidential Staff (KSP), dismissed the concern, saying the conditions set by the law were specific enough to avoid implicating journalists producing stories on terrorism.

"The provisions [in the law] confine its implementation exclusively to radicals," he said, adding that the media were not mentioned specifically in the article. Yet, he urged media companies to be prudent when reporting on terrorism. (nor/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/10/press-to-monitor-new-terrorism-law.html

Isn't it time Indonesia blew its fuse over bomb hoaxes?

South China Morning Post - June 10, 2018

Jeffrey Hutton – On May 17, two female passengers boarded their flight in Makassar in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, bound for Manado, North Sulawesi. Soon after, they told flight attendants they had bombs in their checked luggage. They didn't.

On the same day, on a flight carrying 147 passengers out of Ternate, North Maluku, to Jakarta, a man told flight attendants that he, too, had a bomb in his checked bag. He didn't.

A few days later, on a flight out of Banyuwangi in East Java, two of the city's councillors were questioned by police after they told their Garuda flight attendants that perfume in their carry-on was actually an explosive device. It wasn't.

After a series of suicide attacks in Indonesia last month, the bomb hoaxes have added a new headache for travellers just as the airline industry enjoys something of a renaissance.

Safety and on-time departures now rival foreign carriers. A suite of shiny new terminals, including one opening this week in Semarang that is nine times bigger than the one it is replacing, make travel bearable.

For aviation specialist Gerry Soejatman, who counted 10 bomb hoaxes on aircraft last month, the false alarms are something of an own-goal for an industry that has battled back from the brink.

"This just reminds people of the bad old days when, really, the industry has moved on," Soejatman said.

The rash of hoaxes comes at an unfortunate time – just as an estimated 20 million Indonesians leave the cities for their hometowns to celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, an otherwise ideal opportunity to showcase the facilities at new airport terminals in Semarang, Central Java and West Java.

At Ahmad Yani Airport in Semarang, an airy US$160 million terminal will help deal with an overflow of passengers. The previous terminal was designed for no more than 800,000 passengers, yet serviced more than 4 million last year.

"It's very important to bring in tourists," says Hidya Ramadhina, a spokeswoman with state-owned Angkasa Pura 1, which operates the airport.

Even here, bomb threats are all too common. Last month the city had two: one in the centre of town and one at the airport, which temporarily shut the old terminal down.

The hoax, spread by social media, alleged that a box found at the terminal contained explosives. Instead, it contained escalator parts. "We don't have any plans to pursue charges," Ramadhina says.

That is not uncommon. Unlike other jurisdictions where authorities can come down hard on bomb threats, Indonesia takes a light touch, usually letting perpetrators off with a warning.

That's a far cry from Singapore's reaction in April, when fighter jets were scrambled to escort a Thailand-bound plane back to the city state after a passenger claimed to have a bomb.

Patience in Indonesia, though, may finally be running short. Late last month, university students aboard a Lion Air flight from Pontianak, West Kalimantan, triggered panic when before take-off they told a flight attendant their laptop computers contained bombs.

Hysterical passengers overpowered the flight crew, ripped open emergency exits and poured onto the wings, even as the engines were still running. Distressing images of passengers sliding down the engine casings onto the tarmac several metres below were beamed onto television news programmes and social media.

This time the students were taken into custody. "We hope that this legal action will be a deterrent," Indonesia's transport minister Budi Karya Sumadi, told local media. "This needs to be a lesson for all of us that we can no longer joke about bombs."

Soejatman says Indonesian culture has struggled to adjust to the rigid protocols of air travel, and travellers are not always that savvy. "Society needs time to catch up," he says.

But the cavalier attitude may also reflect ambivalence towards terrorism among some, says Muhammad Heychael, a media researcher with the non-profit group Remotivi.

"There's a big part of society that thinks news about terrorism is itself a hoax or overstated or even a conspiracy against Islam," Heychael says. "We still don't have a cultural strategy when it comes to confronting radicalism."

Most of Indonesia's population of 260 million are tolerant. Nevertheless, a 2016 survey conducted by the Wahid Foundation think tank in Jakarta found nearly 8 per cent of respondents claimed to harbour radical religious views. Of the 1,520 surveyed, seven individuals said they had carried out a violent act against a minority.

Even so, Indonesia's aviation sector has improved greatly in recent years. In 2016 US authorities cleared Indonesian airlines to fly in American airspace again after a nine-year ban that followed a string of accidents.

Indonesian carriers are more reliable, too. Five carriers, including Garuda Indonesia, have an on-time arrival rate of 85 per cent or better, edging US carriers, which had on-time arrival rates of no more than 84 per cent last year, according to US government data.

And when delayed, passengers can wait in nicer surroundings. Last month, the US$150 million Kertajadi International Airport, which can accommodate 5 million passengers, opened 200km from Jakarta. And after a two-year transition, Jakarta's US$500 million Terminal 3 is set to handle all international flights in time for the Asian Games in August.

By law, bomb threats that result in injuries or property loss can carry an eight-year sentence. But other than the pair in West Kalimantan, it's unclear whether any other pranksters will face legal action. National police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal didn't respond to repeated requests for comment.

"We think hoaxers should be charged seriously to teach them a lesson," says Yado Yarismano, spokesman at state-owned Angkasa Pura II, which manages western airports including Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta.

Yarismano declined to say whether he felt the police response was adequate. "These incidents are very disruptive. They hurt passengers and they hurt the airlines."

Source: http://www.scmp.com/week-asia/business/article/2149673/isnt-it-time-indonesia-blew-its-fuse-over-bomb-hoaxes

Indonesian group on Australian terror list

Australian Associated Press - June 9, 2018

The federal government has formally listed the group responsible for recent suicide bombings on Indonesian churches and a police station as a terrorist organisation.

The Islamic State-aligned Jemaah Anshorut Daulah has been listed as a terrorist organisation under Australian criminal law following last month's attacks.

"The deadly terrorist attacks in May in Surabaya, Indonesia highlighted the very real threat on our doorstop from violent Islamists," Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement on Saturday.

Two families, including young children, staged suicide bombings at three churches in Surabaya on May 13 and police headquarters the next day.

At least 18 people were killed, including the family of six who attacked the churches and four members of the same family that detonated the bomb at the police headquarters. Jama'at Mujahideen Bangladesh has also been listed as a terrorist group.

Mr Dutton said JMB had links to Islamic State and was held responsible for a number of deadly terrorist attacks in Bangladesh and the region dating back to 2003.

"They share Islamic State's anti-western ideology and Australians would be considered legitimate targets," he said.

Source: https://www.9news.com.au/national/2018/06/09/14/07/indonesian-group-on-australian-terror-list

Religion & politics

MUI asks for Eid day preach to be without practical politics

Tempo - June 13, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council Maruf Amin appealed to the preachers who will deliver the preaching on Eid Day 1439H to avoid practical politics content.

"We appeal to the preachers of Eid prayers to avoid the content of practical politics that could lead to disunity to Muslims, not to be a medium for campaigning," Maruf told on a press conference in Jakarta on Tuesday, June 12.

Maruf said the preachers should deliver the message of increasing faith and devotion, brotherhood, and peace to the congregation.

"Also deliver the message to raise awareness of the dangers of terrorism, drugs, liquor, deviant sexual behavior or LGBT, and all other forms of misconduct," he said.

In addition, Maruf appealed to Muslims to send prayers for all Muslims at home and abroad, especially in Palestine, Rohingya, Kashmir, and Syria, who are suffering from the tragedy of humanity.

Maruf said the Eid Day should be a momentum to safeguard social cohesion, maintain peace, strengthen and reinforce bonds and relationships between brothers and sisters, countrymen and fellow human beings.

"The difference in political aspirations is a common thing that should be viewed as a blessing in the life of a nation and a state, and not a cause of mutual anger, misunderstanding, libel, and insult," he said.

2018 Eid Day is expected to fall on Friday, June 15. But the government still has not issued an official announcement related.

Maruf also asked the government and the police to maintain the security and comfort of Muslims in celebrating the Eid Day, both during the night before Eid Day and at the time of Eid prayer in the field, mosque, or other places.

"We remind people, especially when using social media to not spread information containing lies, slander, disgrace, hate speech, and so on," he said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/13/055919198/MUI-Asks-for-Eid-Day-Preach-to-be-Without-Practical-Politics

PKS dismisses rumors of subordination to FPI leader Rizieq Shihab

Tempo - June 8, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) senior politician Hidayat Nur Wahid has shrugged off accusations that his party had become a subordinate to Islamic Defenders Front leader Rizieq Shihab following the establishment of a coalition dubbed "the ummah alliance."

"We, political parties, will not be in the position under Rizieq Shihab," said Hidayat at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, June 8.

Previously, the Democratic Party's central executive board chairman Ferdinand Hutahaean said his party would not join the alliance as it would seem that its members were Rizieq's subordinates. Hidayat further explained that PKS would not be in the position under Rizieq Shihab, nor had Rizieq placed himself above the political parties in the political coalition.

Hidayat said the formation of the coalition was based on a collective agreement between political parties and Rizieq Shihab regarding the 2019 presidential election.

"The coalition had been formed before we arrived in Mecca," said Hidayat. The parties that are already in the coalition are Gerindra, PKS, PAN, and PBB.

The "ummah alliance" was initiated by Rizieq Shihab, the FPI leader who has been implicated in several criminal cases in Indonesia. Rizieq is currently staying in Mecca.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/06/08/055919074/PKS-Dismisses-Rumors-of-Subordination-to-FPI-Leader-Rizieq-Shihab

Pro-caliphate banners displayed in South Tangerang

Jakarta Post - June 8, 2018

Jakarta – Local residents have removed four campaign banners promoting a caliphate that were installed in North Serpong and along Jl. Raya Serpong, South Tangerang.

The banners included such phrases as "Uniting Ummah under the System of Khilafah Islamiyah" and "Moving Together Toward the Wonders of Khilafah Islamiyah", tempo.co reported on Thursday.

"One of them was found on the side of a footbridge in front of the Less Belles Masions residential complex," Serpong Police chief Comr. Dedy Kurniawan said.

He said the police received reports from residents who rejected the message of the banners. The banners, which had the logo of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), were installed on the sides of two footbridges in North Serpong.

"The banners have been removed and we have handed the case over to the South Tangerang Police special crimes unit," Dedy said.

The head of the PKS fraction at the South Tangerang Council, Siti Chodijah, denied the party's involvement in the banners' installment. "We are deeply concerned about this issue," she said. "The banners in North Serpong have since been removed."

She explained that similar banners had been previously seen in regions that were due to hold regional elections. Siti said the party would keep a close eye on future installments of similar banners.

The idea of caliphate was previously promoted by Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), which was recently disbanded by the government for its anti-Pancasila stance.(rfa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/08/pro-caliphate-banners-displayed-in-south-tangerang.html

Cultural & religious events

Ramadhan events promote religious harmony, tolerance

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2018

Suherdjoko, Semarang, Central Java – Hundreds of people flocked to a bazaar selling basic commodities held by congregation members of the St. Theresia Bongsari Church in Semarang, Central Java, on Sunday, or five days before Idul Fitri.

At least 400 packages of basic commodities were offered at an affordable price at the bazaar.

Each package, which contained 5 kilograms of rice, 1 kg of sugar, 1 kg of wheat flour, 1 liter of cooking oil, tea and soy sauce, cost only Rp 50,000 (US$3.60). Other items were also sold at low prices, such as school equipment and 267 kg of eggs.

Catholic priest Eduardus Didik Chahyono said all the goods were being sold far below market price because the Bongsari parish wanted to share happiness.

"The bazaar was held by congregation members of the Bongsari parish. We hold bazaars like this every Christmas and Idul Fitri," he said.

The bazaar was one of two events held by the church during Ramadhan this year. A breaking-of-the-fast event was also held at the St. Maria Park in Bojongsalaman subdistrict, West Semarang, on June 1.

Members of Jami'atul Quro wal Huffadh, a rebana (tambourine) musical group, sang Islamic songs. A qori performed a Quranic recitation before they broke the fasting.

"A breaking-of-the fast event is held routinely. The Bongsari church is part of this neighborhood unit. We have always been involved in the dynamics of this community. With this event, we want to give testimony that at the grassroots level, our people live in peace and harmony," said Priest Didik. He said people must always be critical of views that tended to besmirch other religions

Islamic cleric Khoirul Anwar said Muslims were often called on to be peacemakers for parties engaged in conflict. "The presence of Muslims should bring peace," he said. (ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/12/ramadhan-events-promote-religious-harmony-tolerance.html

Waking up the neighbors: Jakarta's Ramadan alarm clocks

Agence France Presse - June 10, 2018

Most of Jakarta is fast asleep at 2:00 am, but for Fajar Ramadin and his pint-sized comrades it's time to wake up the neighborhood.

The motley group of children yell and bang on tambourines and drums as they roam the quiet streets of Indonesia's capital on a mission to stir sleeping residents for a pre-dawn meal.

It is Ramadan and millions across the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation are abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking or sex during daylight hours.

The morning meal, known as Sahur, can be crucial to making it through until sunset without food or drink. "Sahur! Sahur! Please wake up sir, madam!" hollers the 20-strong group of kids, aged seven to 15.

It's music to the ears of dozens of other children who stream out of their houses to join in, adding the thump of empty paint cans and water jugs to the ensemble.

"This tradition has been around for a long time – every kid is happy to do it," said 13-year-old Ramadin. "I like it because this not only entertains people, but also helps them wake up for the pre-dawn meal."

Their entertainment value is probably a matter of debate. But many of the kids are part of a Koran study group run by the local mosque which has given its blessing to this midnight madness. Complaining would be futile.

"They are indeed noisy, but it helps me wake up on time," offers local resident Rosimah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. "We are used to it – happens every year," she added.

Smartphone alarms and digital clocks have seen this wake-up tradition gradually decline over the years.

But it is still found across the sprawling Indonesian archipelago – especially in smaller communities – which is home to about 260 million people. Nearly 90 percent are Muslim.

Similar wake-up traditions are also practiced in some other Muslim nations during Ramadan, which ends in mid-June.

Most of the Jakarta group's members are known as local troublemakers so conscripting them into religious service is a win-win situation for the neighborhood – and the mosque.

"Many of these kids have dropped out of school. Some never even went to school. They are unemployed and became street children who cause trouble," Alvanali Panji Prasetyo, an Islamic teacher and group leader, told AFP.

"Thanks to God, the kids are starting to change their attitude after joining the group."

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/waking-neighbors-jakartas-ramadan-alarm-clocks/

National holidays & celebrations

Jakartans enjoy cleaner air during Idul Fitri holiday

Jakarta Post - June 14, 2018

Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, Jakarta – Jakartans can breathe cleaner air and enjoy a bluer sky, thanks to thousands of vehicles that left the capital during the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) season.

The Jakarta Environment Agency said the air pollutants, which are largely attributed to vehicle emissions, have been greatly reduced during the holidays.

An air quality meter at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle, Central Jakarta, showed on Wednesday that the level of sulfur dioxide (SO2) had decreased by 27.36 percent.

Other pollutants, carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), have also decreased by 66.91 percent and 70.81 percent respectively.

However, the pollutant particle PM10 remained high and even increased by 9.34 percent due to the ongoing development of the MRT.

Meanwhile, an air quality meter in Lubang Buaya, East Jakarta, showed an improvement, but not as significant as in Central Jakarta. The meter showed Wednesday the level of SO2 had decreased by 2.18 percent while CO had decreased by 53.45 percent.

NO2 and PM10 concentrations have also reduced by 43.63 percent and 28.08 percent respectively.

"The air quality in the area is affected by the Cikampek – Jagorawi toll road, which is used by residents to reach their hometown. The road has been more congested than usual," Jakarta Environment Agency head Isnawa Adji said in a statement on Thursday. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/14/jakartans-enjoy-cleaner-air-during-idul-fitri-holiday.html

'Mudik': Indonesia's annual mass exodus

Jakarta Post - June 14, 2018

Devina Heriyanto, Jakarta – In the lead up to the Idul Fitri holiday, which concludes the month-long fasting month of Ramadhan, Jakarta's streets will be relatively empty.

State-owned toll operator PT Jasa Marga has predicted that more than 1.4 million cars would leave Jakartavia toll roads during the Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) season, which started last weekend, a 3.6 percent increase from last year.

Idul Fitri is the most important religious holiday for Muslims while mudik is Indonesia's biggest annual mass exodus and, arguably, one of the biggest transportation challenges the predominantly Muslim nation faces.

Here are some facts about mudik:

What is mudik?

Mudik refers to the annual mass homebound exodus around the time of Idul Fitri. An overwhelming majority of Indonesians are Muslims and thus celebrate Idul Fitri. The most popular way to celebrate Idul Fitri is by gathering with extended family and performing religious rituals together, typically in the family's hometown.

History lecturer at Sanata Dharma University Silverio Raden Lilik Aji Sampurno stated that mudik has existed since the ancient Majapahit Kingdom and Islamic Mataram Kingdom periods, as reported by kompas.com. At the height of Majapahit rule in the 14thcentury, many of its officials were sent to other regions and that at one time they had to return to meet with the king. Unlike the Islamic Mataram Kingdom, Majapahit was a Hindu-Buddhist kingdom and therefore did not celebrate Idul Fitri, but the homebound exodus has nevertheless been linked to mudik.

However, the term mudikonly become popular in the 1970s. The term might come from the Javanese phrase mulih disik, meaning to go home for a while after migrating somewhere, explained Silverio. The Betawi people in Jakarta refer to the Javanese exodus as mudik, a simplification of going back to udik (village).

Indonesia's transmigration policies have resulted in many people living away from their hometowns. This began as far back as the Dutch's resettlement program in 1905, which aimed to provide cheap labor for their plantations in outer islands such as Kalimantan and Papua. The program was replicated after independence and reached its peak during the New Order period, leading to social conflicts, loss of indigenous lands and ecological problems, according to scholar C. M. O'Connor in the journal Population and Environment.

How many people will mudik?

The Transportation Ministry estimated that at least 20 million people would go on mudik trips this year, according to detik.com. Some 8.5 million homebound travelers are predicted to travel by motorcycle, while 8 million will travel by bus and the remaining by private cars.

Despite the long distances, traveling by motorcycle is a popular choice for its affordability.

Why mudik is a big deal in Indonesia?

Mudik is an important affair given the amount of people and vehicles involved and the infrastructure and facilities needed to ensure the journeys are as efficient and safe as possible. Many traffic accidents happen during mudik season and gridlock is common, even on toll roads.

In 2016, extreme gridlock near the Brebes exit gate, dubbed "Brexit", stretched more than 20 kilometers and lasted for more 12 hours – sparking media outcry and public concern.

Safety is a major concern, both as travelers often spend hours on the road without adequate rest and because vehicles often do not meet safety standards. For instance, the Jakarta Transportation Agency's ramp checks found that of the 2,899 buses examined in the city, 1,540 buses, or more than half, were unsafe and forbidden to operate.

What has the government done to ensure mudik runs smoothly?

This year's mudik has been praised by many as "the smoothest mudik" compared to previous years. The opening of new toll roads has provided alternative routes for motorists that typically pack Java's northern coast (Pantura) highways every Idul Fitri mudik season.

To alleviate congestion during mudik, this year the government decided to extend the collective leave-day period for civil servants, a policy that can also apply to the private sector. Soegijapranata Catholic University transportation expert Djoko Setijowarno said the longer holiday period provided flexibility for travelers, and, combined with the opening of new toll roads, helped make this year's mudik better.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi revealed that the number of vehicles traveling on national non-toll roads on Java's northern coast had decreased by 20 percent compared to previous years, as quoted by detik.com. Budi said many people had chosen to use toll roads or public transportation instead.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/14/mudik-indonesias-annual-mass-exodus.html

More than half Idul Fitri buses unsafe for 'mudik': Agency

Jakarta Post - June 13, 2018

Jakarta – As many as 1,540 buses were declared unsafe and forbidden to operate in this year's Idul Fitri mudik (exodus) season because they did not pass the Jakarta Transportation Agency's ramp checks.

Jakarta Transportation Agency head Andri Yansyah said the result of the ramp checks was based on motorized vehicle examinations that the agency had conducted at bus terminals from last Thursday until Tuesday.

Of the 2,899 buses examined, he said, 1,359 were considered safe to operate while the other 1,540 were forbidden to operate until they had been repaired.

"A lot of the buses had components that needed repairs, such as their electrical circuits or damaged bodies. We forbid all buses that did not pass the ramp checks from operating to avoid any danger [to passengers]," Andri said on Tuesday as reported by wartakota.tribunnews.com.

He said some of the buses' electrical components were broken; for example their brake lights, turn signals or reverse lights were not working properly.

He said some of the seat belts on the buses were also not operating properly, the number of seats did not match the required numbers according to regulations, parking brakes were non-operable and some had damaged bodies.

"If some of the buses can still be repaired, we will wait before allowing them to operate. If a bus was too damaged and needed intensive repairs, we immediately crossed them out. We will also check the availability of the safety equipment of the buses, such as glass-breaking hammers or emergency doors. We prioritize safety because it is not something to play around with," he said. (ami)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/13/more-than-half-idul-fitri-buses-unsafe-for-mudik-agency.html

Jakarta & urban life

Critics slam Anies' decision to form agency on reclamation project

Jakarta Post - June 14, 2018

Callistasia Anggun Wijaya, Jakarta – The Jakarta administration's decision to form a special agency that would manage reclamation activities in the Jakarta Bay, was promptly met with criticism for contradicting Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan's promise to stop the multimillion dollar project.

Anies issued on June 4 Gubernatorial Regulation No. 58/2018 on the establishment of a coordination body to manage the reclamation project in North Jakarta's coastal area.

The agency, which was formed in accordance with Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 on the reclamation of North Jakarta's coastal area, is in charge of coordinating, planning, implementing and monitoring the project. Led by the city secretary, the agency will also be responsible for managing reclaimed islets and giving recommendations about the project to the governor.

Agency members include, among others, heads of the Jakarta Development Planning Board (Bappeda), the Jakarta Spatial Planning Agency and the Investment and One-Stop Integrated Service Agency.

Last Thursday, after leading an operation to seal 932 buildings that lacked construction permits (IMB) on Islet D, Anies said the special agency should be formed to comply with Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 and related Jakarta regulations.

The presidential decree instructed the administration to form special bodies to control and run the reclamation project. "We will comply with prevailing regulations," Anies said.

The Save Jakarta Bay Coalition (KSTJ) has slammed Anies for forming the agency.

"The way we see it, the city administration formed the agency to continue the reclamation project. The sealing of buildings on Islet D meant nothing as we believe the city administration will legalize the buildings through the agency," said KSTJ member Tigor Hutapea, who is also deputy head of the People's Coalition for Fish- eries Justice (KIARA).

Tigor claimed that Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 instructed the establishment of special agencies to pave the way for reclamation activities.

In 2009, the city administration under former Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo formed a temporary agency to manage the reclamation project.

The team was disbanded by former governor Djarot Saiful Hidayat in 2017, citing concerns that the agency was ineffective.

KSJT criticized Anies, who promised to stop the project as part of his campaign platform, for creating a similar agency.

The newly issued regulation states that the move to dismiss the previous body had affected the management of the reclamation project, and so an ad hoc agency was needed to accelerate the endeavour as regulated by the presidential decree.

Tigor went on to say that Anies' move to seal illegal buildings on Islet D did not prove his commitment to stopping reclamation activities as the previous administration had done the very same thing twice.

Then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama sealed the buildings in 2014 and 2016, yet they and their supporting facilities remained intact.

The coalition urged Anies to demolish the buildings on Islet D and rehabilitate the area, which had been damaged by the reclamation project.

City Council member Jhonny Simanjuntak from the Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) faction echoed the statement, saying, "The regulation shows Anies' inconsistency in fulfilling his promise to stop the reclamation."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/14/critics-slam-anies-decision-to-form-agency-on-reclamation-project.html

Demolish all buildings on Islet D: Coalition

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2018

Jakarta – The Save Jakarta Bay Coalition (KSTJ) called on Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan to immediately demolish the buildings on Islet D in Jakarta Bay.

On Sunday, the KLTJ affirmed its stance on the Jakarta Bay reclamation debacle. It called on Anies to "demolish the buildings on Islet D and to cancel his plans to form a special reclamation agency".

The governor sealed all the buildings on Islet D last Thursday and said he wanted to establish an agency that would be in charge of the Jakarta Bay reclamation project, diverting from a campaign promise to stop it.

The KLTJ said it was disappointed with Anies' decision, adding that the buildings on Islet D have been sealed twice under the direction of former governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama due to the absence of construction permits. Despite this, the buildings and their supporting facilities remain intact.

The governor's plan to establish the agency under Presidential Order No. 52/1995 on the reclamation of Jakarta northern beach further raised the KLTJ's ire. They alleged that the agency would be used by the governor to aid the reclamation process. (rfa/wit)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/10/demolish-all-buildings-on-islet-d-coalition.html

Retail & service industry

Islamic fashion school cuts a faithful figure in Indonesia

Reuters - June 10, 2018

Yuddy Cahya, Bandung – Indonesia's first Islamic fashion school is teaching students in the world's largest Muslim-majority country the usual skills of design, styling and marketing – but with a religion-specific twist.

As demand grows for Islamic apparel, featuring variations on traditional headscarves and long, flowing dresses for women, while men are targeted with robes or shirts embroidered with religious motifs, about 140 students have signed up.

"We want our students to make unique designs and become leaders in modest fashion," said Deden Siswanto, who founded the Islamic Fashion Institute nearly three years ago in Indonesia's third largest city of Bandung. "We also teach them about wearing clothes according to Islamic rules."

Nearby sat a group of young women working at sketchboards and sewing stations in the school, which offers nine-month courses in fashion styling, marketing, and basic styling.

Both men and women, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, may join. But teachers must be Muslim, to ensure familiarity with Islamic business practices.

The trend towards garments that meet religious requirements is becoming more visible among the burgeoning middle class in Indonesia, where, for years, few Muslim women covered their heads, or opted for traditional batik or Western clothing.

The Indonesian websites of leading online retailers such as Lazada.com and Zalora.com now have pages dedicated to Islamic fashion. The country hosted its first Muslim Fashion Week in 2015 and the industry ministry aims to make Indonesia a "Muslim fashion hub" by 2020.

One of the students at the school, Runi Soemadipradja, said she started wearing a headscarf in 2007 but found few options suitable for Muslims.

"I started designing my own clothes," she said. "We are overwhelmed by this (demand). So far I have released 10 collections." (Writing by Jessica Damiana; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor and Clarence Fernandez)

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/indonesia-fashion-school/islamic-fashion-school-cuts-a-faithful-figure-in-indonesia-idUSL3N1TA3PS?rpc=401&

Armed forces & police

Military, police to maintain trust despite assaults

Jakarta Post - June 13, 2018

Jakarta – Indonesia Army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Alfret Denny Tuejeh has said members of his institution and their colleagues in the police force will maintain their good relationship, despite two recent assault cases allegedly involving their respective personnel.

"The army will continue working with the police to maintain peace and security, especially ahead of Idul Fitri, the 2018 Asian Games and regional elections," he said on Tuesday.

"The Army also remains confident and entrusts the police to handle these two cases." Alfret was referring to the assault cases that led to the death of one soldier and injured two policemen and another solider.

The first case happened on Thursday when eight Mobile Brigade (Brimob) personnel allegedly attacked and stabbed two soldiers at Billiard Al Diablo bar in Depok, West Java.

It was reported that the police officers became engaged in a brawl with the victims, Second Sgt. Nikolas Kegomoi and Second Sgt. Darma Aji, who are both members of the Jakarta Military District Command.

Both soldiers were rushed to Gatot Subroto Army Hospital but Darma passed away later that afternoon. Nikolas remains under intensive care.

The second case happened on Saturday when two policemen were assaulted by unknown assailants while buying drinks behind Graha Cijantung Mall in Cijantung, East Jakarta. The two victims, Bimo Yudho Prasetyo and Feri Saputra, were second police brigadiers and part of the Jakarta Police.

The policemen survived and reported the incident to Pasar Rebo Police Station before being sent to Kramat Jati Police Hospital.

The police are still investigating the second assault. There has been widespread speculation the attack was perpetrated by soldiers, Tribunnews and Kompas reported.

Meanwhile, the eight Brimob officers suspected of committing the assault in Depok last Thursday were arrested on Friday and will be processed and punished in accordance to the law.

"The police will not hide these individuals who have tarnished the reputation of the police," said National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Muhammad Iqbal. (nor/ebf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/13/military-police-to-maintain-trust-despite-assaults.html

Police officers allegedly attacked by military personnel in East Jakarta

Jakarta Post - June 11, 2018

Jakarta – Two police officers, Second Brig. Bimo Yudho Prasetyo and Second Brig. Feri Saputra, were allegedly attacked by military officers in Cijantung, East Jakarta, on June 9.

According to Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono, Bimo and Feri were attacked while buying drinks behind Cijantung Graha Mall. "Suddenly, some people approached and attacked them," Argo said on Sunday as quoted by tempo.co.

The victims, who identified their attackers as military officers, were examined at the National Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, East Jakarta, Argo said. Bimo and Feri reported the incident to the military police in Cijantung.

Jakarta Military Command spokesman Lt. Col. Kristomei Sianturi said the military were still investigating whether the attackers were in fact military personnel.

The incident occurred days after two military officers, Second Sgt. Nikolas Kegomoi and Second Sgt. Darma Aji, were allegedly attacked by Mobile Brigade members at the Al Diablo billiard center on Jl. Raya Bogor in Cimanggis on June 7. Darma died because of the attack.

Given the June 7 attack, Kristomei said there was a possibility that individuals attempt to worsen the situation but warned against pointing the finger.

"We should be wise in looking at this matter. We shouldn't quickly conclude that the attack [on June 9] was an act of retaliation. That will worsen the situation," Kristomei said. (cal)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/11/police-officers-allegedly-attacked-by-military-personnel-in-east-jakarta.html

Free trade & neoliberalism

Indonesia making preparations to join TPP

Nikkei Asian Review - June 12, 2018

Shotaro Tani, Tokyo – Indonesia is studying the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reached by 11 nations after the U.S. exited, with a view to joining the trade pact, Jusuf Kalla, the country's vice president, said on Tuesday.

Those comments mark a turnaround in policy for the Southeast Asian nation, which had previously said that the trade pact had lost its allure without the U.S.'s participation.

Speaking to the Nikkei Asian Review on the sidelines of the Future of Asia conference, hosted by Nikkei, Kalla said that Indonesia "is now studying the conditions, the possibility" of joining the trade agreement.

"Of course, if TPP is free of tax, and Indonesia still pays tax, then it is not easy for Indonesian goods to compete in the market," he said. "That is why our intention is to join" after the pact comes into force, he said.

The vice president had said in an interview with Nikkei last year that "without the U.S. [in the TPP], we feel that the benefits on the trade front for Indonesia aren't that big, and we have lost interest," but he now is of the opinion that regardless of whether the world's biggest economy returns or not, Indonesia could join.

Kalla said he hoped that the studies currently being conducted by his government in the existing TPP agreement would conclude within "six months to a year," after which Indonesia will make a final decision. The studies will focus on how the country's competitiveness will be affected if it joins the pact.

Twelve nations that border the Pacific Ocean initially joined the TPP in February 2016, but the U.S. pulled out of the deal last year after Donald Trump, following through on his campaign pledge, took office as president. The 11 remaining countries agreed to an amended version of the deal, now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, in Vietnam last November, signing it in Santiago, Chile, this past March. The new TPP takes effect once six of its members ratify the deal.

Indonesia in early April drew up a road map, dubbed "Making Indonesia 4.0," for upgrading five manufacturing sectors in the hope of making the country one of the world's 10 largest economies. The industries comprise food and beverage, textile and garment, automotive, chemical, and electronics – sectors which face fierce competition from Indonesia's neighboring countries. Joining the TPP would at least level the playing field for Indonesia against its rivals.

Indonesia is also involved in another mega trade deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP. In February, it hosted the 21st round of talks in the city of Yogyakarta, with Indonesia's trade minister, Enggartiasto Lukita, saying at the time that the partnership was the country's priority.

But with RCEP negotiations dragging on – initial plans were for the talks to conclude last year – Kalla hinted that Indonesia will now put a priority on joining the TPP. "[It] has faster operation," he said.

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Future-of-Asia-2018/Indonesia-making-preparations-to-join-TPP

Foreign affairs & trade

Jokowi issues single window regulation to boost exports

Jakarta Post - June 12, 2018

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has signed Presidential Regulation No. 44/2018 on the Indonesia National Single Window (INSW), which is tasked with integrating export and import services, to boost exports.

Under the regulation, the submission and the processing of data and information is managed in a single process by the INSW, according to a statement published on the Cabinet Secretariat's official website setkab.go.id on Monday.

"The regulation is to help the Indonesian economy compete internationally," the statement says.

It says that the INSW handles various documents related to the quarantine, customs and licensing processes as well as documents on seaports and airports.

"Export and import documents are submitted to relevant ministries and other government institutions through the INSW system," according to the statement.

The INSW website, at www.insw.go.id, comes with information in both Indonesian and English.

To access the INSW system, users must obtain Hak Akses (Access Rights), which are issued by INSW system management based on a finance ministerial regulation, according to Article 7 of the presidential regulation.

The system is also equipped with a steering council, which is tasked with harmonizing policy and synchronizing processes in ministries and government institutions to improve efficiency.

The council is chaired by Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution, with ministers and other top government officials holding membership positions. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/06/12/jokowi-issues-single-window-regulation-to-boost-exports.html

Indonesia wins UN Security Council seat

Jakarta Globe - June 9, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – Indonesia won a non-permanent seat at the Security Council, with four other countries elected by the United Nations General Assembly on Friday (08/06).

Along with Germany, Belgium, South Africa and the Dominican Republic, Indonesia will serve a two-year term in 2019-20.

The Southeast Asian country was up against Maldives to represent the Asia-Pacific group, and managed to secure 144 votes, while its opponent got 44.

Indonesia has sought support for its candidacy since 2016, especially during meetings President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi held with their foreign counterparts.

It is expected of Indonesia to be a moderating voice and consensus builder among members of the council, based on the country's response to various crises that took place over the past year, including the Qatar diplomatic crisis and the humanitarian crisis affecting Rohingya refugees in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Following Friday's voting at the General Assembly's plenary session in New York, Retno delivered a video statement, in which she said Indonesia will focus on several issues during its term, including efforts to strengthen global stability, synergy between regional organizations and the council, and developing a comprehensive global approach to tackle the issue of terrorism, radicalism and extremism.

Retno added that the matter of Palestine will continue to be a priority. "Indonesia also invites other members of the UN Security Council to make this body more efficient, effective and accountable in responding to various challenges for peace and security," she said.

This is Indonesia's fourth time as a non-permanent member of the Security Council.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesia-wins-un-security-council-seat/

Analysis & opinion

How economic conditions affected voting in the 2014 election

Indonesia at Melbourne - June 12, 2018

It is now less than a year before Indonesia holds its first ever simultaneous national legislative and presidential elections on 17 April 2019.

Given the possibility of a rematch between President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, his opponent in 2014, campaign teams and political operatives will no doubt be looking back to the 2014 election for lessons that can be applied to the rapidly approaching 2019 race.

In a recently published research paper, Nurfien Aji and I [Teguh Dartanto] examined the factors that were important for Jokowi's victory in 2014. In particular, we investigated the effect of socioeconomic conditions at the village level on voting behaviour.

Our study combined data from the 2011 Village Potential Census (Podes) (which captures limited information on village-level infrastructure and local economic development) with data from polling booths uploaded through the crowdsourced Kawal Pemilu vote-counting initiative to assess how village-level economic conditions affected voting behaviour. Our study found that, in general, villages with good economic conditions were more likely to vote for Jokowi.

Our study also attempted to assess the impact of media access and religious and ethnic identity. In a biased media environment, access to television and the internet (through smartphones) seemed to be important factors influencing voters to back Prabowo. Religion also played a role.

The 2014 presidential election marked Indonesia's transition into a mature democracy. It was Indonesia's third successful direct presidential election, and it involved peaceful transition to a new president from outside the political and military elite.

Following the 9 April 2014 Legislative Election, parties coalesced around two coalitions. Joko Widodo was backed by the Great Indonesia Coalition, consisting of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the National Democratic Party (NasDem), the National Awakening Party (PKB), the People's Conscience Party (Hanura), and the Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI). Prabowo, meanwhile, was supported by the Red and White Coalition of Gerindra, Golkar Party, the National Mandate Party (PAN), the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the United Development Party (PPP), and the Crescent Star Party (PBB). As Prabowo had the backing of four Islamic parties to Jokowi's one, Prabowo's team presented their candidate as more truly representing the interests of the Muslim community.

Despite the fact that the Red and White Coalition secured 48.9 per cent of the vote in the legislative election, compared to the Great Indonesia Coalition's 40.9 per cent, Jokowi emerged victorious, with 53.1 per cent of the presidential vote (compared to 46.9 per cent to Prabowo).

We developed an econometric model to determine whether there was any relationship between economic conditions, ideology, access to information, and religion and ethnicity, and voting behaviour.

Our results showed that in villages with more positive economic conditions, such as good infrastructure (like paved roads) and economic access (availability of banks and markets), voters were more likely to back Jokowi. Our model found that the probability of Jokowi securing more than 50 per cent of votes increased by almost 2 per cent in villages with good infrastructure.

This suggests that despite the fact that village level infrastructure such as banks, markets and roads are under the authority of district or city-level governments, voters still interpret them as being under the central government's authority.

Villages with sizeable middle-class populations were more inclined to vote for Jokowi, while villages that were dominated by working class residents (agricultural labourers and factory workers) tended to prefer Prabowo.

In a 2015 study of the 2004, 2009 and 2014 elections, Higashikata and Kawamura used city and district level gross regional domestic product (GRDP) data to demonstrate that districts with higher economic growth tend to support ruling parties. Mujani, Liddle and Ambardi also found that voters tend to favour incumbents if economic conditions are good, and vote for the opposition when they are poor.

It is possible voters who experienced strong economic conditions under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono were more inclined to associate Jokowi with continuing the economic policies of his predecessor. Jokowi was relatively accommodating of the market and displayed a preference for limited government intervention in the economy, policy positions more consistent with the policies of Yudhoyono. By contrast, Prabowo's strongly nationalistic campaign advocated more radical change to the structure of the Indonesian economy.

Our results also confirmed the vital role played by the media. The probability of Jokowi winning in villages with a good quality private television signal decreased by 11 per cent.

It is possible that this outcome was a result of the polarised media coverage of the 2014 race. During that election, there was a sharp divide in how television media reported on the election, because of the political affiliations of media owners. TVOne, ANTV, MNCTV, RCTI and Global TV all favoured Prabowo, while only MetroTV was associated with the Jokowi campaign.

Finally, religion and ethnicity also appeared to be an important factor in voting behaviour. If we look at the partial effect of ethnicity and religion, majority Muslim villages were more likely to vote for Prabowo. Assuming that all other variables are constant, the probability of Jokowi securing more than 50 per cent of votes decreased by 38 per cent in villages with a Muslim majority.

On the other hand, villages with majority Javanese populations were more inclined to vote for Jokowi. The probability of Jokowi winning in villages with majority Javanese populations increased by about 36 per cent. This is significant, given that Javanese represent almost half the Indonesian population. Combining both ethnicity and religion, this study confirmed that religion was a more dominant factor than ethnicity in influencing voter behaviour in the 2014 presidential election.

These findings suggest that a carefully targeted media campaign, focusing on economic performance, ethnic identity and religious issues could play a significant role in determining the outcome of next year's presidential race.

[This post was based on the article "Behind Jokowi's victory: did economic voting matter in the 2014 Indonesian presidential election?", recently published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science.]

Source: http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/did-economic-conditions-affect-voting-behaviour-in-the-2014-election/

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