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Indonesia News Digest 33 – September 1-8, 2018

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West Papua

Call for multi-pronged approach to West Papuan struggle for self

Radio New Zealand International - September 8, 2018

Vanuatu's Honourary Consul to the Netherlands has suggested that those involved in the West Papua struggle for self determination, should examine the topic from all angles.

The Daily Post newspaper reports that Elisabeth van Vliet's opinion is that all international avenues are not fully utilised to press the West Papuan's position forward.

Mrs Vliet suggested that both the International War Crime Court in The Hague and the UN Decolonisation Committee in New York should both be used by those standing for the demands of the Melanesian people of West Papua.

She made the remarks during her diplomatic visit to consult with the Vanuatu government in Port Vila.

Elisabeth van Vliet said a large number of West Papuans were living in the Netherlands due to the problems taking place in the Indonesian region.

Meanwhile, Vanuatu's government has said it will continue its push to have West Papua inscribed on the United Nations decolonisation list next year.

It had hoped to advance the plan at the recent Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Nauru, but encountered opposition from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji.

However Vanuatu indicated there is still support among other countries for having West Papua's controversial incorporation into Indonesia in the 1960s reviewed.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/365985/call-for-multi-pronged-approach-to-west-papuan-struggle-for-self-determination

Pacific forum recognizes constructive engagement on West Papua

Vanuatu Daily Post - September 7, 2018

Royson Willie – One of the regionalism priorities mentioned in the Final Communique of the Pacific Islands Forum Summit in Nauru this week was the engagement by Forum countries on issues affecting West Papua.

Item 33 on the Forum Communique states, "Leaders recognised the constructive engagement by Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua (Papua) and to continue dialogue in an open and constructive manner".

Just before the final communique was released by the Forum Secretariat, Vanuatu's Foreign Affairs Minister, Ralph Regenvanu who was in Nauru, in a telephone interview with Kizzy Kalsakau from 96 Buzz FM News, said he hoped West Papua would be included in the final communique.

Regenvanu said Vanuatu will be putting forward a resolution before the United Nations General Assembly next year for West Papua to be relisted on the agenda of the United Nations Decolonisation Committee.

He said for this to happen, it would need the support of the majority of the General Assembly, which means 100 countries will have to vote in support of the resolution.

"We are now putting up this resolution next year. We have informed all Pacific Islands Forum member countries that we are doing this and we will be asking for their support when it comes to the UN General Assembly next year.

"Already, i as minister of foreign affairs at the Pacific Islands Forum Foreign Ministers meeting in Apia last month, i informed all my colleague foreign ministers that Vanuatu was gonna do this and i asked for their support," Minister Regenvanu said.

He said already it is clear the resolution will not get the support from Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea but around eight or nine other countries in the Pacific are in support.

Regenvanu said Prime Minister Charlot Salwai had told him before the Leaders Retreat at the Forum meeting that he would raise the issue of West Papua with the Forum Leaders.

Other regionalism priorities mentioned in the communique are; Leaders recalled their 2017 decision on a regional security declaration and endorsedthe Regional Security Declaration to be known as the Boe Declaration; they recognised that climate change presents the single greatest threat to the livelihood, security and wellbeing of Pacific people; leaders reiterated their commitment to ensuring the long-term sustainability and viability of the region's fisheries resources; leaders acknowledged the urgency and importance of securing the region's maritime boundaries as a key issue for the development and security of the region; and leaders expressed their grave concern with the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), noting that NCDs now represents the leading cause of premature deaths in the region.

Source: http://dailypost.vu/news/forum-recognizes-constructive-engagement-on-west-papua-issue/article_78453fc8-5e9a-5720-8d97-2d233de78a2c.html

Vanuatu will continue West Papua initiative

Islands Business - September 6, 2018

Nic Maclellan, Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru – Despite the lack of formal endorsement from this week's Pacific Island Forum in Nauru, Vanuatu will continue an initiative to have West Papua re-listed as a non-self-governing territory at the United Nations.

Vanuatu has asked Forum member states to support a proposed resolution to the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, to recognise the right of West Papuan self-determination and relist West Papua with the UN Special Committee on Decolonisation.

Forum states like Nauru, Solomon Islands and Tuvalu backed a similar initiative in 2013, which saw French Polynesia re-listed with the UN Special Committee in the face of French opposition at the UN General Assembly.

Speaking to Islands Business and Pacnews in Yaren this week, Vanuatu Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu said: "We didn't come to the Forum with the intention to have a resolution, because we know we won't get it. All we are doing is bring it to the attention of the members and ask them for their support. So far there are indications that we will get the support of the majority of Forum members."

In recent years, the umbrella group United Liberation Movement of West Papua (ULMWP) has been seeking membership and support from regional and international bodies. Lora Lini, the daughter of Vanuatu's first Prime Minister, the late Father Walter Lini, has been appointed as Special Envoy on Decolonisation of West Papua to the Pacific Island States.

ULMWP spokesperson Jacob Rumbiak, who attended the Nauru Forum alongside ULM President Benny Wenda, said: "This motion enables Pacific-island leaders to acknowledge that the conflict between Jakarta and West Papuans is an international political issue – not an internal domestic problem – that can now only be resolved with third-party negotiation (the United Nations)."

Within the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Papua New Guinea and Fiji have resisted the push to make the ULMWP a full member, while Vanuatu and the FLNKS have backed the idea. Former Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was a vocal supporter of West Papuan self-determination, but under the new government of Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela, the country has taken a more measured diplomatic stand since last year.

Despite this, Regenvanu said that this issue was still a matter of dialogue rather than division with other MSG and Forum members: "We continue to talk with them all the time. We respect their positions. We are simply asking other Pacific states to support that resolution when it comes to the UNGA next year. We are working on putting together that resolution to the UNGA in 2019 and getting a vote of majority support."

Given longstanding reservations from Australia, Papua New Guinea and Fiji, the Vanuatu government is looking beyond the islands region for support. Regenvanu noted that support will come from Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement and other international groupings.

"The Pacific will represent some of the votes, but most of the votes will come from outside the region, so we are working on all fronts to try and get those votes secured," he said. "There are signs of support from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. We had a series of bilaterals at Lome earlier this year. It's now on the agenda of the ACP political sub-committee to discuss and hopefully come up with a resolution at the ACP in December this year – at the Council of Ministers meeting."

Regenvanu noted: "We're also on the agenda of the Caricom Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting and the African Union Summit. We are now approaching Latin American States and the European Union."

In their final communique from Nauru, Forum leaders re-iterated their longstanding recognition of Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua (Papua), and avoided any reference to the right to self-determination: "Leaders recognised the constructive engagement by Forum countries with Indonesia with respect to elections and human rights in West Papua (Papua) and to continue dialogue in an open and constructive manner."

But the issue of self-determination will continue on the regional agenda. At the end of the 20-year transition under the Noumea Accord, New Caledonia will hold a referendum on self-determination on 4 November.

As reported in the August edition of Islands Business magazine, a 'No' vote in November is just a step in an ongoing process under the Noumea Accord. Daniel Goa, the official spokesperson for the Front de Liberation Nationale Kanak et Socialiste (FLNKS) said

"If people say Yes, there would be a declaration of Independence, but between four or five years there would be a transition... If however people vote No, then we will continue our struggle which has continued for more than 164 years. You must understand that the Noumea Accord makes provision for three referendums, not one. If people vote No in November, we can still call a second referendum in 2020. If people vote No again in 2020, a third referendum can be held in 2022."

Parallel to this, Bougainville is also scheduled to hold a referendum on its political status, proposed for 2019, despite a lack of support for independence in the PNG Parliament.

Next year's Forum will be held in Tuvalu, which has provided diplomatic support for West Papua and the 2013 re-inscription of French Polynesia. The 2020 Forum will be hosted by Vanuatu, so the issue of self-determination in Melanesia will continue to be debated.

Source: https://www.onepng.com/2018/09/vanuatu-will-continue-west-papua.html

Indonesia keen to engage with Pacific – tells Vanuatu to

Pina - September 6, 2018

Makereta Komai (PACNEWS News), Nauru – The Indonesian Government is keen to engage more with Pacific Island Countries as its steps up its presence in the region.

And it's planning its first ever Indonesia-South Pacific Forum early next year, revealed Indonesia's head of delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru this week, said Dr Desra Percaya, Indonesian Government's head of delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting in Nauru this week.

While details of the conference will be conveyed to Pacific Leaders later, Dr Percaya said Indonesia has also offered its assistance in the combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) and addressing marine plastics in the Pacific.

"Your concern in oceans is the same as us. That's why in the partners dialogue we are offering to work together to establish Pacific framework in combatting IUU in the region. In 2014 we lost US$4 billion because of IUU fishing and directly affected the livelihoods of the people, said Dr Percaya.

He told PACNEWS the second project for the Pacific is providing technology for biodegradable plastics.

"This is not only a problem in Indonesia or Pacific but a global problem. We have capacity building assistance and we can send technicians to the region to help with the problems of marine plastics.

"That is our objective – we are open to any countries in the Pacific. We have been engaged with a number of countries in the Pacific through the Bali Forum that discusses challenges to democracy. We are also inviting Pacific countries to our Oceans conference in Bali in October this year.

On West Papua, the Indonesian diplomat reiterated the issue of Papua is an internal matter for Indonesia.

"We have heard that Vanuatu has been very active in raising the issue about West Papua. I am just wondering why they are doing this because we are also a democratic country and we are keen to work together with members of the Pacific Islands Forum.

"You must look at Indonesia in a big picture. We have changed. We were under the military rule but now we are now a very vibrant democracy and issues are discussed openly. We are a responsible government in the international community and member of the United Nations, so I am puzzled why they are doing this.

"If I can send a message to them – please just get real! Indonesia is still a democratic country. We are not hiding anything, we are an open country and if you have any concern come and talk to us about it. To us, it's a futile exercise, said Dr Percaya.

Reacting to the Chinese walk-out at the Partners Dialogue with Pacific Islands Forum Leaders on Tuesday this week, Dr Percaya said from his own experiences, having represented Indonesia as its Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, countries should respect the chair and host of the meeting.

"The brief from the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to dialogue partners was very clear – only ministers would be given the opportunity to speak at the Dialogue session, said Dr Percaya.

Source: http://www.pina.com.fj/index.php?p=pacnews&m=read&o=18221682305b919d888a2b224bebf0

Indonesia proposes funding Papua diplomacy in Pacific

Radio New Zealand International - September 6, 2018

Indonesia's government is proposing $US4 million in funding towards influencing Pacific Island countries to change their position on Papua.

The Kompas newspaper reports the country's top security minister, Wiranto, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, saying the money would be used to finance soft diplomacy efforts in the South Pacific.

He said a lot of countries in the region get misinformation about Indonesia's attitude towards Papua and that actually Jakarta was promoting development there.

The proposed budget would be used to improve the image of Papua and increase Indonesian engagement in the Pacific, including border security and security intelligence cooperation.

Wiranto said Indonesia had invited Nauru President Baron Waqa and Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai to see the positive work in Papua for themselves.

Nauru and Vanuatu have called for investigations into alleged human rights abuses in West Papua at the United Nations but have softened their tone in recent months.

Mr Waqa met with Wiranto in Nauru in February and voiced support for Indonesia's development of Papua.

And an April visit by a Solomon Islands delegation to Papua caused an upset among staunch advocates in the traditionally pro-Papuan independence country.

In his comments this week, Wiranto said countries promoting Papuan independence at the United Nations had to be dealt with.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/365836/indonesia-proposes-funding-papua-diplomacy-in-pacific

Vanuatu pushing for UN resolution on West Papua, despite opposition

Fiji times - September 5, 2018

Makereta Komai, PACNEWS, Nauru – The government of Vanuatu is pursuing bilateral discussions with Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru this week to seek their support for its proposed resolution to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to relist West Papua on the UN Decolonisation committee.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Ralph Regenvanu told PACNEWS his government was mindful of the opposition from some member countries.

"They are going to try to block it and we know they are not going to support it. We are simply asking other Pacific states to support that resolution when it comes to the UNGA next year. We are working on putting together that resolution to the UNGA in 2019 and getting a vote of majority support, said Minister Regenvanu.

Despite opposition from Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Australia, the Vanuatu Minister said his government will continue to engage with them in the lead up to the UNGA session next year.

"We continue to talk with them all the time. We respect their positions. We didn't come to the Forum with the intention to have a resolution because we know we won't get it.

"All we are doing is bring it to the attention of the members and ask them for their support. As I said earlier, so far there are indications that we will get the support of the majority of Forum members, said Minister Regenvanu.

He said indications from the bilateral meetings conducted so far, show majority of the Pacific Island States at the Pacific Islands Forum will support the resolution.

Apart from the Pacific, the Vanuatu Government has also started its campaign for support in other regions of the world.

"The Pacific will represent some of the votes but most of the votes will come from outside the region so we are working on all fronts to try and get those votes secured.

"There are signs of support from the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group. We had a series of bilateral at Lome earlier this year. It's now on the agenda of the ACP political sub-committee to discuss and hopefully come up with a resolution of the ACP in December this year – at the Council of Ministers meeting. We're also on the agenda of the Caricom Foreign Affairs Minister meeting and the African Union Summit. We are now approaching Latin American States and the European Union.

At the same time, Vanuatu has also put its name up to be on the UN Decolonisation Committee in the next round of voting.

On the new security arrangement for the region through the Biketawa Plus, Vanuatu strongly support the assertion by the Forum Island countries that climate change is the greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of the peoples of the Pacific.

"The Pacific has consistently said that climate change is the single greatest threat to the existence of our countries and that statement will be reaffirmed in the Biketawa Plus Declaration coming out of Nauru.

"If it is the single greatest threat to our security, then any concerns about security must be addressed and taken into account by our partners as our main concern and addressed accordingly, he said.

He revealed that certain Forum members have attempted to water-down some language in the security declaration.

"There have been some attempt by certain of our members to do that but luckily that phrasing comes directly from the 2015 Leaders communique. You can't change the wording without changing what the Leaders agreed to, said Minister Regenvanu.

The Biketawa Plus Declaration endorsed by Foreign Affairs Ministers in Samoa last month recognised human security, humanitarian assistance and environmental security in building resilience and disasters and climate change.

The declaration also respects and assert the sovereign rights of every member to conduct its national affairs free of external interference and coercion the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of members.

Source: http://www.fijitimes.com/vanuatu-continue-push-for-un-resolution-on-west-papua-despite-opposition-from-forum-members/

Stop the bloodshed: Rarua

Vanuatu Daily Post - September 6, 2018

Godwin Ligo – "It is high time for the international community and the United Nations (UN) to call on Indonesia to stop mass killings of innocent West Papuan Melanesians. It is an unthinkable and inhumane act by Indonesia to continue the genocide practices it is carrying out on indigenous Melanesians in West Papua. It must be stopped."

Shem Rarua, President of the Oceania Decolonization Committee (ODC) is appealing to the international community and the UN to do something urgently.

He said in 2009, the Papua National Leadership, appointed a Committee that came to be known as Oceania Decolonization Committee, based in Port Vila, to address the issues of West Papua and the desire of the West Papuan Melanesians for the right to freedom through political independence.

The Oceania Committee on Decolonization is a non-Government Organization that enshrines Christian Principles and also promotes culture and traditional values of the Peoples of Oceania.

The President of ODC said the issue of West Papua and the cry of the indigenous Melanesians to be freed from the Indonesian military occupation and genocide activities has reached the state where the international community and the UN need to put the end of the genocide first, then move to the next platform to dialogue for political freedom for the West Papuan Melanesians.

"The history of this ongoing conflict and the role played by the international community in the struggle for self determination and an end to the colonial oppression, environmental destruction, and suffering of the West Papua Melanesians is, most urgent," he said.

"Agendas on this issue must be brought forth and given highest priority by the international community and the UN."

He said gross human right violations has becoming too much to bear by any human society in this world.

He went on to state that "while many people and organizations regionally and internationally speak for West Papua before and today, time becomes an essence as to when will there be and end by Indonesia of the brutal killings of human beings inside West Papua by the Jakarta military.

"We need the international community, we need the UN, we need the International Lawyers, we need the International Criminal Court, to collectively act now and not wait for another time or everyone wait to see the entire population of West Papua totally wiped out by the Indonesia military."

He congratulates the Government and the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Vanuatu's unwavering stand on West Papua struggle for political freedom to the UN Committee on de-colonization in 2019 and pledges ODC support at this level.

Source: http://dailypost.vu/news/stop-the-bloodshed-rarua/article_71e40462-3da9-585f-82fc-90ef9c8fdbbb.html

Security ministry wants extra $US4 million to counter

Kompas.com - September 5, 2018

Kristian Erdianto, Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs Wiranto is proposing an additional budget of 60 billion rupiah to fund diplomatic efforts related to the Papua problem.

The proposed budget will be separate from the Coordinating Ministry for Security, Politics and Legal Affairs' (Kemenko Polhukam) 2018 annual budget of Rp 281,470,604.000.

Wiranto says that the 60 billion rupiah will be used to pay for diplomatic efforts by the government in the South Pacific region.

"We are pursuing intense soft-diplomacy. I'm heading it up myself, going there, coordinating, and talking to them. We're proposing an additional budget of 60 billion rupiah", said Wiranto during a working meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR) Budget Committee at the parliamentary complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Wednesday September 5.

Wiranto explained just a few years ago as many as seven out of 13 countries in the South Pacific supported Papuan independence. All of these countries had voting rights in the United Nations General Assembly.

Meanwhile, said Wiranto, many of these South Pacific countries had been receiving misinformation about Indonesia's approach to Papua. For example a view that the government has neglected development in Papua.

According to the former ABRI (Indonesian Armed Forces, now call TNI) commander, the government is already pursuing diplomatic efforts with two South Pacific heads of state, namely Nauru and Vanuatu.

The two heads of state have been invited to visit Papua to see for themselves the progress in development there.

"We've been forgetting, we've been negligent, that there are many countries there which could potentially threaten our domination, Papua is part of our territory and it turns out that this is true", said Wiranto.

The additional budget of 60 billion rupiah proposed by Wiranto will be used for five coordinated activities.

1. 20 billion to improve Papua's international image.

2. 15 billion to improve Indonesia's cooperation with the South Pacific.

3. 15 billion to improve cooperation with South Pacific international organisations.

4. 5 billion for the management of Australian and South Pacific territorial border security.

5. 5 billion to improve Australian and South Pacific territorial border security intelligence cooperation.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Wiranto Ajukan Tambahan Anggaran Rp 60 Miliar untuk Diplomasi Terkait Papua".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/05/13025511/wiranto-ajukan-tambahan-anggaran-rp-60-miliar-untuk-diplomasi-terkait-papua

Mass arrests in Papua following peaceful protest

Radio New Zealand International - September 5, 2018

Dozens of West Papuans were arrested by Indonesian police in Jayapura yesterday for staging a demonstration for self-determination.

According to local media reports, as many as 79 people were arrested after holding a peaceful demonstration in the capital of Papua province.

The crowd included activists and students linked to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua. They were calling on Indonesia's government to recognise their right to self-determination.

The demonstrators also voiced support for Vanuatu's plan to raise the Papuan self determination issue at this week's Pacific Islands Forum summit in Nauru.

About three dozen of them were still detained by police late last night.

Meanwhile, police have pressed the arrested Papuan protesters to sign letters promising not to be involved in such action in future.

The letter template seen by RNZ Pacific commits each signatory to state they are willing to be punished according to law if they repeat their actions.

The letter also states that the signatory makes the declaration with full conscience without being forced by anyone.

The Liberation Movement and its support base seek international support for their hopes for a referendum.

They argue that the process by which the former Dutch New Guinea was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s was not legitimate self-determination.

West Papuans were largely excluded from consultations around the Indonesian take-over.

The take-over culminated in 1969's so-called Act of Free Choice which is widely regarded as a stage managed referendum in which about 0.2 percent of the Papuan population voted under duress for Indonesian rule.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/365720/mass-arrests-in-papua-following-peaceful-protest

Governor: 3 million Papuans to vote for Jokowi

Tempo - September 5, 2018

Friski Riana, Jakarta – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe ensures three millions of the Papuans will vote for the incumbent Presidential Candidate Joko Widodo (Jokowi) in the 2019 presidential election.

"There is no doubt that three million people will vote for Jokowi," Lukas said at the State Palace, Jakarta, Wednesday, September 5.

Lukas said that only Jokowi who understood the problems in Papua. "Whoever the presidents, they will not change Papua, Jokowi understands Papua better than previous presidents," he said.

Although the governor is a Democrat Party cadre, he and the Democrat cadres in Papua would support Jokowi. According to Lukas, his political choice has nothing to do with his party decision that supports Prabowo Subianto.

"The people of Papua will focus on voting for Jokowi," he said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/05/055921385/Governor-3-Millions-of-Papuan-Vote-for-Jokowi

Indonesian police arrest Papuan student on treason charge

UCA News - September 4, 2018

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta – Rights activists in the restive Indonesian province of Papua have expressed concern over the fate of a student arrested on treason charges.

Simon Carlos Magal, 26, was arrested in Timika district on Sept. 1 after leaving the office of the Anti-Violence and Human Rights Foundation, a local human rights group.

His aunt Yosepa Magal Alomang told ucanews.com her nephew was being held incommunicado. "His mobile phone was confiscated, so the family do not know his whereabouts," said Alomang, who is also a rights activist.

Timika police chief, Agung Marlianto, later confirmed the arrest and the treason charge but refused to say what the accused was supposed to have done.

"Magal has been transferred to police headquarters in Jayapura [for further questioning]," Marlianto was quoted by local news portal SuaraPapua.com, as saying.

According to Alomang, her nephew was not involved in any subversive activities and was preparing to leave for Australia as a post-graduate student.

However, Magal was known to have written papers on the situation in Papua and taken part in some group discussions, leading to speculation by some observers that the authorities were uncomfortable with the thought of him going to Australia and becoming a potential thorn in their side.

A long-running separatist insurgency has gripped Papua since it was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticized U.N.-backed referendum in 1969.

Local lawmaker Laurens Kadepa, said he had tried to visit Magal at the police detention facility to make sure he was not being maltreated. However, police refused him access.

Father John Djonga, a well-known human rights defender in Papua, said Magal's arrest was another blot on Indonesia's record of human rights enforcement in the province.

"Accusations of treason have become an arbitrary tool used against Papuans," Father Djonga said, adding, "repressive measures escalate conflict."

In March, this year, Yanto Awerkion, a member of the pro-independence West Papua National Committee was handed a ten-month jail sentence for treason by an Indonesian court, for helping to organize a petition calling for West Papuan independence.

In December 2016, four students were arrested on treason charges in Manado for allegedly having pro-independence views, according to activists.

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/indonesian-police-arrest-papuan-student-on-treason-charge/83229

45 arrested in Jayapura at rally calling on PIF to raise West Papua

Tabloid Jubi - September 4, 2018

Benny Mawel, Jayapura – Police have arrested scores of protesters at a demonstration organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) as they were gathering at Sentani Post 7 in Jayapura.

"Forty-five of us are [being held] at the Jayapura Polres [district police] in Doyo", Sentani regional action coordinator Samuel Wenda told Jubi on Tuesday September 4.

Samuel said that the arrests occurred at around 8am when protesters were gathering before heading off to Abepura. The arrests, he said, were made because police said that they did not have a permit for the rally from the Papua regional police chief.

Earlier, Papuan police chief Inspector General Martuani Somin said that the ULMWP protest could not go ahead because under Indonesian law prior notification was required.

"On the demonstration it was just a problem with issuing a STTP [receipt of notification], namely issuing a notification on expressing an opinion in public", Somin told Jubi on Monday September 3.

Somin said that the protest action would be forcibly broken up if there was no notification from the organisers of the demonstration. "If they go ahead with the protest action without a notification then it can be broken up by Polri [Indonesian police]", said Somin.

The ULMWP action committee called for the Papuan people to mobilise today and for all the people in the land of Papua to hold joint prayers on Tuesday September 4.

"Whatever the form, we appeal to the ordinary people to hold actions, private and public meetings, seminars and prayers", ULMWP action coordinator Boy Daby told Jubi at the Papuan Traditional Council (DAP) offices in Expo, Waena.

The demonstration, which was centred in Port Numbay (Jayapura), took up three points.

First, expressing support for the Republic of Vanuatu and other Pacific countries to raise the West Papua issue at the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) meeting which will take place in Nauru on September 9.

Second, the Papuan people are praying for Pacific nation leaders to deliberate a draft resolution on self-determination for West Papua which has been submitted by Vanuatu for discussion at the meeting in the interests of humanity and the suffering of the Papuan people, which has gained world attention in the context of creating world peace.

And third, calling on the Indonesian government to acknowledge the Papuan people's right to self-determination.

When Jubi sought confirmation on the arrests, Jayapura police chief Assistant Superintendent Victor Mackbon said that they had only been "secured".

"We just secured [them]. We want to seek clarification because the permit for their demonstration was rejected as it did not fulfill the requirements. We'll question them and explain things. They'll be returned home this afternoon. We were just eliminating a threat to Kamtibmas [public law and security]", explained Mackbon.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Demo ULMWP, 45 orang ditahan di Polres Jayapura".]

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/artikel-19162-demo-ulmwp-45-orang-ditahan-di-polres-jayapura.html

Jayapura police interrogate students regarding morning star 'noken'

Tabloid JUBI - September 3, 2018

Hengky Yeimo, Jayapura – Jayapura Municipal Police Chief the Adjunct Senior Police Commissionaire Gustav R. Urbinas said, four students of STIKOM (Communication College), Muhammadiyah Jayapura are still be interrogated about the morning star 'noken' (Papuan traditional bag) in their campus.

The students are Arnold Bame (BEM STIKOM Chairman), Fransiakus Bame (PKKMB Committee Chairman), Kamaliel Pahabol (BEM Deputy Chairman), Yutinus Murib (member of PKKMB Committee).

"They were temporarily asked to clarify the activity occurred in STIKOM Campus this afternoon," the chief said on Tuesday (08/28/2018) in Jayapura. After the interrogation, said the chief, the four students would send home. "And the police will continue investigating this case."

Meanwhile, a STIKOM alumnus Markus Imbiri said this investigation was ironic because the world has acknowledged noken as an indigenous inheritance, which gained ratification from UNESCO in Paris in 2004, and the Governor of Papua even encourage all Papuan citizens to wear noken.

"Nowadays, students are advised to use noken since the first day of school orientation to respect it. Because some students were difficult to find other motives, they bought the morning star motive. Could it be said as separatism? If we use it, would Papua separate from the Republic of Indonesia?"

Imbiri further said the similar incident occurred at the Faculty of Social Science of the University of Cenderawasih should be given enough lessons to students and people in Papua. (*)

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/eng/jayapura-police-interrogate-students-regarding-morning-star-noken/

14 arrested in Jayapura protest against Freeport, militarism in

Suara Papua - September 3, 2018

Bastian Tebai, Jayapura – This morning, on Monday September 3, 14 participants of a peaceful action organized by the Papuan People's Democratic Movement (Garda Papua) were arrested by police.

Two were released after being held for three hours while 12 others were detained by police at the Jayapura municipal police (Polresta) office until 3.40pam then released after six hours.

The Garda Papua rally was calling on the Papuan Regional House of Representatives (DPRP) to act on three demands: the closure of the PT Freeport gold-and-copper mine, opposition to militarism in Papuan and calls to build a market for Papuan mama-mama (traditional Papuan women traders).

The protesters, who had planned to hold the action at the DPRP, were blocked by police as soon as they began to assemble. The 14 arrested were: Kanibal Lokbere, Geri Kabak, Yali Wamo, Maria Beanal, Tresya Magai, Freedom Isataplo, Anggrek Bagubau, Jhon Ciko, Zet En, Wille G, Riko Kobogau, Lanine Lani, Ferry Kobogau and Memo Hagisimijau.

They were arrested as they gathered for the protest at Expo, Lower Cenderawasih University and Marpati. In a written statement Garda Papua made eight demands.

First, calling on the DPRP to fight for and convey to the Papuan provincial and central government, specifically the president of the Republic of Indonesia, to close or halt Freeport's mining activities throughout Papua.

Second, urging the DPRP to halt all extractive investment activities and plantations in the land of Papua which clearly harm the Papuan people both in material and non-material terms.

Third, urging the DPRP to show concern for and assist indigenous Papuan farmers, fisherpeople and hunters and gatherers and to protect them against attacks by capitalist investment which is increasingly impinging on their livelihoods.

Forth, urging the DPRP to respect the right to life in Papua and replace militaristic security policies with an approach that respects civil supremacy the values of human rights and democracy.

Fifth, urging the DPRP to reduce the number of TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (Indonesian police), halt their involvement in security service businesses and end the militarisation of civilians in Papua.

Sixth, urging the DPRP to support efforts by civil society and the victims of rights violations to uncover the facts and establish a human rights court to try cases of state violence in Papua.

Seventh, urging the DPRP to support indigenous Papuan traders by implementing programs to build special markets and to provide loans and skills improvement.

Eight, urging the DPRP to protect indigenous Papuan traders from the tentacles of capitalist trade which is becoming widespread in Papua and protect them from loan sharks and other things which marginalise and affect the activities of traders.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demo Tutup Freeport, Bangun Pasar dan Tolak Militer, 14 Orang Ditangkap".]

Source: https://suarapapua.com/2018/09/03/demo-tutup-freeport-bangun-pasar-dan-tolak-militer-14-orang-ditangkap/


Indonesian province bans men and women from dining together

Agence France Presse - September 5, 2018

Banda Aceh – A district in Indonesia's deeply Islamic Aceh province has banned men and women from dining together unless they are married or related, according to an official who said it would help women be "more well behaved".

Aceh is the only region in the world's most populous Muslim majority country that imposes Islamic law and has been criticised in the past for putting moral restrictions on women.

It also attracted global condemnation for publicly whipping people found guilty of a range of offences including homosexuality, gambling and drinking alcohol.

Under the latest regulation, women in Bireuen district on Sumatra island will not be able to share a table with men at restaurants and coffee shops unless they are accompanied by their husband or a close male relative. Co-workers on their lunch break will also be forbidden from sharing a meal.

"The objective is to protect women's dignity so they will feel more comfortable, more at ease, more well behaved and will not do anything that violates sharia (Islamic law)," the head of the local sharia office, Jufliwan – who like many Indonesians has only one name – told AFP on Wednesday.

Another part of the directive, signed by the district head on 5 August, said women who were alone or without a family member should not be served at restaurants and cafes after 9pm.

Authorities say it will be up to restaurateurs to enforce the regulation, although offenders will not be punished.

Three years ago the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, banned unaccompanied women from entertainment venues including cafes and sports halls after 11pm.

In 2013, Lhokseumawe city in Sumatra's north ordered women to sit "side-saddle" on motorbikes. The mayor at the time said straddling male drivers on motorbikes was "improper".

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/05/indonesian-province-bans-men-and-women-from-dining-together-islamic-aceh

Table for two? In Aceh regency, that's available only if you're

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Apriadi Gunawan and Hotli Simanjuntak, Banda Aceh – The Bireuen regency administration in Aceh province has issued a circular asking coffee shops, cafes and restaurants to ensure that male and female customers who are not married or related to one another do not sit at the same table together.

The circular is meant to serve as a guideline for business owners to abide by sharia, which prohibits khalwat (physical displays of affection between unmarried couples).

"The circular was meant to keep the relationship between men and women in Bireuen in line with sharia rather than oppress them, so they won't get caught violating qanun jinayat [Islamic criminal code]," Bireuen sharia agency head Jufliwan told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

The circular has 13 points, including a restriction for food sellers to serve women after 9 p.m., except if she arrives with a spouses or relative.

Jufliwan added that people were still caught violating the circular, which was first issued in late 2016 and had been revised twice. "However, we can't punish them as this is only a suggestion, not a regulation that carries a punishment."

However, the Bireuen administration plans to propose to the provincial council to turn the circular into a bylaw that carries legal penalties if needed.

Local activists have expressed concerns about the circular, saying that some of the points were discriminatory toward women.

"We are concerned that some parties could interpret the circular according to their own wishes," said Aceh Arabiyani, a local women's activist.

The administration, she added, must ensure that the circular would not discourage the public from visiting coffee shops because of possible raids. "Can the big buses that pass through Bireuen still enjoy its culinary offerings at night?"

Aceh is the only region in the country with the authority to implement sharia as mandated by a 1999 law on Aceh's status as a special region, coupled with the 2001 law on special autonomy for Aceh and Papua.

In 2009, Aceh's legislative councillors enacted their first fully pledged qanun jinayat. The law was later revised in 2014 and came into effect in October 2015.

While Aceh's lawmakers believe sharia is legal, human rights activists argue that its bylaws should not contradict the 1945 Constitution and national laws, as a number of provisions might be considered discriminatory. (kuk/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/table-for-two-in-aceh-regency-thats-available-only-if-youre-married.html

New regulations prohibit cafes serving women after 9pm or without

Coconuts Jakarta - September 5, 2018

In Aceh, the only province in Indonesia allowed to implement Islamic sharia based laws, women have often become victims of discrimination in the name of religion.

That continues to be the case in the Bireuen Regency of Aceh, which recently passed a number of new regulations for cafes operating in the area.

A circular, signed by Bireuen Regent Saifannur on August 30, has spread online detailing 14 new rules enforcing Islamic morality 'standardization' on cafes and in the regency.

Two of the rules, points 7 and 13, were circled out to highlight regulations that are particularly repressive towards women. Point 7 reads, "It's forbidden to serve women after 9pm unless they're with their mahram" while point 13 reads, "It's haram by law for men and women to sit at the same table unless [the man] is her mahram."

In Islamic law in this context, mahram is a legal escort of women while they're out in public, usually one's husband or immediate family.

(Other rules that weren't highlighted in the circular include a prohibition on the "facilitation" of immoral acts such as LGBT relations, although persecution of sexual minorities is unfortunately already common in Aceh.)

While Bireuen's regent has not publicly released a statement regarding the new regulation, the regency's Islamic Sharia Agency confirmed that it was passed to ensure cafes uphold morality standards according to Islam.

"[Points 7 and 13] are to prevent infidelity. Our aim is to prevent other forms of sharia violations too," Bireuen Islamic Sharia Agency Head Jufliwan told Detik yesterday.

That said, Jufliwan said there are no specific legal sanctions yet for violators of the new regulation while the government is giving "dakwah" (preaching) about the new rules to the public.

In January, a district in Aceh received worldwide scrutiny for its discrimination towards women after it passed a regulation requiring female flight attendants flying into the region to wear the hijab or face punishment by religious police.

While Indonesian airlines said they would comply, this meant they ended up mostly sending male flight attendants for flights in an out of the district, which includes the province's capital of Banda Aceh.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/new-regulations-prohibit-cafes-serving-women-9pm-without-male-guardians-aceh-regency/

Aceh regency enforces curfew on women, prohibits employment of

Detik News - September 4, 2018

Agus Setyadi, Aceh – Bireuen regent Saifannur has issued a new regulation on the "standardisation" of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants in the regency in accordance with Sharia law.

In one of the points, it states that it is haram (forbidden under Islamic law) for men and women to eat at the same table unless they are muhrim – lawfully married or related.

"Point number 13 says that it is haram for men and women to eat or drink at the same table except with their muhrim. If they are with their muhrim there's no problem right, but if it's not with a muhrim then it is haram, because under sharia law that's haram", said the head of the Bireuen sharia agency (Kadis Syariat Islam) Jufliwan when sought for confirmation by Detik.com on Tuesday September 4.

The regulation on the standardisation of coffee shops was signed by Saifannur on August 30. The regulation contains 14 points which regulate behaviour at coffee shops. Of these, points 9 and 13 have attracted most attention.

Point 9 states that it is forbidden to serve women customers after 9pm unless they are with a muhrim. The other points meanwhile regulate what types of clothing are acceptable and prohibit coffee shops from employing members of the LGBT community or waria (trans women).

According to Jufliwan, the regulation was issued in order to prevent violations of sharia law in Bireuen. The regulation on non-muhrim men and women sitting at the same table meanwhile is designed to prevent illicit affairs (perselingkuhan).

"It's to prevent things like perselingkuhan happening. Our aim is to prevent violations of sharia law taking place, nothing else", explained Jufliwan.

"So it sets standards for coffee shops right, that's the standard. Meanwhile if women want to drink coffee [in public after 9am] please go ahead, but only with your muhrim. That's sharia law right", said Jufliwan.

Despite this however, there are no penalties stipulated yet for violating these standards. The Bireuen regency government is simply appealing to the public and will continue to socialise the regulation so that people obey the values of Islamic law.

"We will continue to socialise it, there aren't any penalties yet. If there are violations of Islamic law there will be Satpol PP [public order agency officers] and WH [Wilayatul Hisbah, Sharia police] [to enforce it]", he said. (asp/asp)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Bupati di Aceh Keluarkan Fatwa Haram Nonmuhrim Ngopi Semeja".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4197354/bupati-di-aceh-keluarkan-fatwa-haram-nonmuhrim-ngopi-semeja

Human rights & justice

Munir Case: Police asked to reveal Pollycarpus-Muchdi recording

Tempo - September 7, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – To commemorate the 14th anniversary of the assassination of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Choirul Anam said that a voice recording related to the case could be used by the police to rightfully resolve the murder case.

The recording Choirul referred to is the phone conversation between Pollycarpus Budihari Prijanto, a convicted murderer in the case, and former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy V Muchdi PR.

"There is one crucial document, which is the voice recording that has never been presented in court. That should have been [the police's] main focus," said Choirul in Jakarta, Thursday, September 6. According to him, the phone recording was mentioned 41 times in court but the content was never revealed.

Choirul claimed that this piece of evidence could have easily solved the case for police investigators. "That is something that exists within the police institution itself, not anywhere else, so it should have been easy since the police would not have to start from scratch," he said.

However, Komnas HAM says it appreciates National Police chief Tito Karnavian's decision to reopen the case and will await the police's committment to solving the case.

Exactly 14 years ago on September 7, 2004, human rights activist Munir was murdered while on flight to the Netherlands. Forensic reports suggested the human rights activist died of arsenic poisoning. The court sentenced Pollycarpus to 14 years behind bars, while Muchdi PR was acquitted of all charges by the South Jakarta District Court in 2008.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/07/055921470/Munir-Case-Police-Asked-to-Reveal-Pollycarpus-Muchdi-Recording

Komnas HAM wants Sept 7 as Human Rights Activists Protection Day

Tempo - September 7, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Choirul Anam, the commissioner of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas Ham), has appealed to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to set September 7 as the protection day of human rights activists in Indonesia.

The date, Anam said, marked the 14th anniversary of the death of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib.

Anam explained the murder case of Munir was a threat to all human rights activists. "Thus, it is better that Pak Jokowi mulls over this protection, one of the symbolic efforts is by naming September 7 as the day for human rights activists," said Anam at his office on Friday.

Munir Said Thalib died in his flight to Amsterdam from Jakarta on September 7, 2004, due to arsenic poisoning. The police named Garuda Indonesia pilot Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto as the suspect. In December 2005, the court found him guilty and sentenced him to 14 years' imprisonment.

The court also sentenced Garuda Indonesia president director Indra Setiawan to a year behind bars for being an accessory. However, to date, the police have yet to arrest the mastermind behind the murder.

On August 31, National Police Chief Tito Karnavian ordered Criminal Investigation Unit Chief Insp. General Arief Sulistyanto to have another look into the case, which Anam viewed as a good move that should be carried out effectively.

Anam added the naming of September 7 as the protection day for human rights activists was the least President Jokowi could do. "It is the minimum commitment to the Munir case, so all of us will never experience what Cak Munir had gone through in this country," Anam said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/07/055921465/Komnas-HAM-Wants-Sept-7-as-Human-Rights-Activists-Protection-Day

552nd Kamisan marks 14 years since assassination of rights activist Munir

Kompas.com - September 6, 2018

Fabian Januarius Kuwado, Jakarta – The 552nd Kamisan (Thursday action) held on Thursday September 6 was quite different from usual.

This was because this Kamisan was commemorating 14 years since the death of renowned human rights activist Munir Said Thalib, who was assassinated on September 7, 2004.

Today's Kamisan was not only marked by speeches by human rights activists and the families of victims of past human rights violations, but it was also embellished with ornaments filled with criticism of the government.

Eight long banners were put up facing towards the State Palace across the road from the action. Printed on the banners were messages in white on a black background.

Interestingly, the messages were quotes from various national figures, ranging from statements by former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) chief AM Hendropriyono, Munir's wife Suciwati, the 6th president of Indonesia Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, poet Joko Pinurbo to Munir himself.

The following are some of the quotes on the banners:

"The Munir issue has really made me very stressed out. I don't want to be summoned like a defendant. I'm not the guilty person." (AM Hendropriyono, 2016)

"Munir, good evening. Vanished from sight but are still being sought. Dead but still courageous". (Joko Pinurbo, Surat Kopi)

"The Munir case is a test of our history." (Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, 2004)

"Our PR [homework] is past human rights violations. Including the case of Mas [Brother] Munir. This also needs to be resolved." (President Joko Widodo, 2016).

"I could be drowned at sea, I could be poisoned in the air, I could be murdered on a sidewalk. But I will never die and will never end." (The Greenhouse Effect, in the Air)

"I must be calm even though I'm afraid. This is so others will not be afraid." (Munir Said Thalib)

These quotes were intended to depict the course of the Munir case itself which according to human rights activists and the families of human rights victims has yet to be fully resolved.

During a break in the action, Suciwati said that to this day there have been no serious efforts on the part of the government to resolve the Munir case.

"The efforts appear to have only been ceremonial. Just to maintain the impression that the government cares, and then the problem of human rights violation is buried again", said Suciwati.

"For us, there have been enough promises, all of the postures taken by the state and promotions on social media about how much the current government cares about human rights cases in Indonesia. What we need is concrete action showing that the government really is serious about dealing with human rights violations, including Munir", she said.


Kamisan – Roughly translated as "Thursday Actions", every Thursday since January 18, 2007, the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) has been organising silent actions in front of the State Palace calling on the government to resolve past human rights cases.

Renowned human rights defender Munir died of arsenic poisoning onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight in September 2004. Although off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of the murder in 2005 the alleged mastermind behind the assassination, former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy Muchdi Purwopranjono, was later acquitted of all charges. Also implicated in the murder but never investigated was former BIN chief Hendropriyono. A close ally of Megawati Sukarnoputri – the chairperson of President Joko Widodo's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – according to US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 Hendropriyono was involved in the planning of Munir's murder.

In the Air (Di Udara) by Green House Effect (Efek Rumah Kaca, ERK) is a song written by ERK members Cholil, Akbar and Adrian in 2007 to honour the life of Munir.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Aksi Kamisan Bentangkan Spanduk Berisi Pernyataan Hendropriyono, SBY, hingga Jokowi".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/06/20284431/aksi-kamisan-bentangkan-spanduk-berisi-pernyataan-hendropriyono-sby-hingga

LBH welcomes reopening of Munir case, but urges release of fact

Kumparan News - September 4, 2018

Indonesian police chief General (Kapolri) Tito Karnavian has instructed Criminal Investigation Bureau chief (Kabareskrim) Inspector General Arief Sulistyanto to reopen the investigation into the assassination of human rights activist Munir who was poisoned in September 2004.

"Yes there has been a new order from the Reskrim [criminal investigation bureau] to investigate the Munir case. Yes we will reopen his dossier [although] how far it goes, well that depends on the case", said Sulistyanto at the national police headquarters public relations office.

In response, Saleh Al Ghifari from the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) has welcomed Karnavian's order to reopen the investigation. According to Saleh however, the most important thing is to reveal the contents of the 2005 Munir Fact Finding Team (TPF) report to the public.

"We welcome this [renewed] seriousness from the police and government, [but] of course the first step is to open the TPF [report], (in order to) development the investigation and reveal the other higher-left perpetrators", said Saleh when contacted by Kumparan on Monday September 3.

According to Saleh, the work of Bareskrim (the Criminal Investigation Directorate) will be far more difficult if it does not use data from the TPF report. Saleh believes that without this, it will be like Bareskrim is starting all over again from scratch in trying to uncover the mystery behind Munir's assassination.

"Yes they'd be doing it all over again, if they start from zero. It would be pointless, now (the TPF report) ended up with the government, it's already with the president", said Saleh.

Although he welcomes the order from Karnavian, Saleh doubts the government's seriousness in uncovering the facts behind Munir's death. The only way the government can demonstrate its seriousness, according to Saleh, is by fully disclosing the TPF's findings.

"It shouldn't be difficult for the government to find it. Including the national police, all that's left is the will to reveal it to the public and use it to further investigate the Munir case", he added.

The Munir TPF was formed during President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's (SBY) first term in office in 2004. The special team was made up of 14 people and headed by police Brigadier General Marsudi Nahafi.

After three months of work, the TPF's investigation was completed in 2005. The public awaited the full disclosure of the findings.

Instead of being released to the public however, in March 2016 the State Secretariat declared that the report had gone missing. The whereabouts of the six copies of the TPF's report – which were handed over to the government in 2005 – remain unknown.

Saleh is still questioning how the government lost the report. According to Saleh, it makes no sense for the documents to have just disappeared.

"(Perhaps) it was mismanagement by the presidential office, only we're not convinced. The documents were handed over in public, the media was there, there was a presidential press conference, [then] they just disappeared, where were they put? They can be searched for, it's impossible that they don't exist. Everyone knows about the documents, all of the TPF members said that they were handed over [to the government]", he explained.

Saleh is still convinced that the documents exist. On the question of their disappearance, he says it's just a matter of how serious the government is [in finding them].

Saleh says that if the government is indeed serious about solving the Munir case, this can only demonstrate this by revealing the TPF's findings to the public.

"[The government can] demonstrate its seriousness like that, yes we welcome the [police chief's] instruction, but it's like something isn't quite right. Because the documents are indeed being held by the government", he concluded.


Renowned human rights defender Munir died of arsenic poisoning onboard a Garuda Indonesia flight in September 2004. Although off-duty pilot Pollycarpus Priyanto was convicted of the murder in 2005 the alleged mastermind behind the assassination, former National Intelligence Agency (BIN) deputy Muchdi Purwopranjono, was later acquitted of all charges. Also implicated in the murder but never investigated was former BIN chief Hendropriyono. A close ally of Megawati Sukarnoputri – the chairperson of President Joko Widodo's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) – according to US diplomatic cables leaked in 2011 Hendropriyono was involved in the planning of Munir's murder.

Following a ruling by the Central Information Commission (KIP) in October 2016 ordering the State Secretariat to disclose the fact-finding team's report on Munir's murder to the public, the Secretariat claimed that the document had mysteriously gone missing, prompting allegations that the files were deliberately misplaced by the government.

The full Munir TPF report in PDF format can be read here: http://www.asia-pacific-solidarity.net/southeastasia/indonesia/reports/248022727-The-Full-Secret-TPF-Report-on-the-Munir-Assassination.pdf

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Kapolri Perintahkan Usut Kasus Munir, LBH Minta Pemerintah Buka TPF".]

Source: https://kumparan.com/@kumparannews/kapolri-perintahkan-usut-kasus-munir-lbh-minta-pemerintah-buka-tpf-1536025321440619374

Freedom of speech & expression

Police search for more evidence in alleged defamation of Jokowi in

Jakarta Post - September 4, 2018

Jakarta – Bangka Belitung Islands Police continue to gather more evidence in their investigation into alleged defamation against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, which implicates at least two underage boys.

"We are still collecting more evidence before bringing the case into the court," Bangka Belitung Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Syaiful Zachri said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

The police have named two suspects in the case, including a 16-year-old boy identified only by his initials, FZ. The other suspect is SD, 20. Meanwhile, another underage boy, IK, 15, remains a witness in the case.

Both FZ and SD are charged with online defamation under Article 27, Paragraph 3 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law, which carries a maximum sentence of four years behind bars.

The case first emerged after footage of a video call showing SD uttering harsh words against Jokowi went viral on social media and messaging platforms. Local residents later reported the video to the police.

"The President is the symbol of the state; therefore, [people] shouldn't make fun of him, especially by calling him foul words," Syaiful said.

First enacted in 2008, the ITE Law has become a scourge of the country's internet users. According to data from the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network, 200 people have been prosecuted using the draconian law since it was first implemented. (kuk/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/04/police-search-for-more-evidence-in-alleged-defamation-of-jokowi-in-bangka-belitung.html

Police to monitor presidential campaign events

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2018

Jakarta – The National Police have instructed their intelligence and security directors at the provincial level to monitor the declaration of presidential candidate campaign events using hashtags as themes.

Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto confirmed the instruction signed by the National Police Security Intelligence Agency's head, Com. Gen. Lutfi Lubihanto.

The police will monitor four events using the hashtags #2019GantiPresiden (change the president), #2019TetapJokowi (Jokowi remains), #Jokowi2Periode (Jokowi two terms) and #2019PrabowoPresiden (president Prabowo), according to the instruction.

Organizers of the events are required to submit a written notification and fulfill prerequisites to hold their events, tempo.co reported on Monday.

Police personnel have also been instructed to identify any potential conflicts and to be more careful in issuing permits for such activities. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/police-to-monitor-presidential-campaign-events.html

Jokowi lauds police on restricting anti-Jokowi declaration

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2018

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said he backed the police's decision to restrict events of an anti-Jokowi movement known under its Twitter handle #2019GantiPresiden (Change the president in 2019) in several cities.

He said that, while Indonesia was a democratic country, there were some limitations to the freedom of expression.

"Yes, this country is a democratic country. Everyone has the right to assemble and have their own opinion, but remember that there are limitations to it and rules to follow, okay", he told reporters after attending a NasDem Party event in Jakarta on Saturday, as quoted by tempo.co.

Jokowi lauded the police's decision to dissolve the #2019GantiPresiden declaration to maintain public order, as the event was deemed to have the potential to spark riots between supporters and opponents of the incumbent.

Police officers dissolved events in several cities, including Pekanbaru in Riau and Surabaya in East Java, because of the risk of commotion.

On a similar note, NasDem Party chairman Surya Paloh deemed the declaration to be "inappropriate to be expressed in public, because it could hurt the feelings of people with different political preferences."

Regarding a verbal attack on Jokowi by presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto concerning the depreciating rupiah, Surya recommended that Jokowi simply respond to his critics with a smile.

"If the [opposition candidate] was the leader today, would the US dollar fall today? I'm not so sure," he said in response to Prabowo's comment about the rupiah falling in value to Rp 14,700 per US dollar recently. (ris)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/02/jokowi-lauds-police-on-restricting-anti-jokowi-declaration.html

Political parties & elections

Media moguls backing Jokowi-Ma'ruf not guarantee to win election

Tempo - September 6, 2018

Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, Jakarta – Candidates for the 2019 presidential election, Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin is set to be endorsed by yet another mass media owner with entrepreneur Erick Thohir. He also has been appointed to be the pair's presidential campaign team leader.

However, according to Syarif Hidayatullah State-Islamic University political observer, Pangi Syarwi Chaniago, mass media's support towards Jokowi-Ma'ruf will not guarantee that the pair will go unhindered in the election.

"Jokowi needs to be cautious despite being backed by media moguls because it is not the deciding factor for his win," said Voxpol Center Executive Director as Tempo reached him today.

According to Pangi, there is a possibility that the outcome of the 2019 election will mirror United States' 2016 presidential election that saw Donald Trump elected for president despite being less popular in the mainstream media compared to his rival Hillary Clinton.

Pangi argues that Jokowi's rival, Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno, could cook up a surprise and end up winning the election, as in Trump's case had fully utilized the social media platform.

"Mind you, social media has its own buzzer, its own headlines, trends, and trending topics," Pangi argued.

He elaborates that mass media is indeed a potent tool to drive the public opinion, especially among the lower class segment. However, the middle and upper class will not easily be affected by 'image building' broadcasted in conventional media.

Other than Erick Thohir, Jokowi-Ma'ruf is currently backed by several Indonesian media moguls such as Hary Tanoesoedibjo, owner of MNC Group, and Surya Paloh, leader of Media Group.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/06/055921428/Media-Moguls-Backing-Jokowi-Maruf-Not-Guarantee-to-Win-Election

Supreme Court called on to resolve ex-graft convict election

Jakarta Post - September 6, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The Constitutional Court has called on the Supreme Court to immediately review a disputed regulation issued by the General Elections Commission (KPU) that bans former graft convicts from running in elections.

Several ex-graft convicts have challenged the KPU regulation (PKPU) at the Supreme Court, but the latter has argued it was unable to process the case as the Constitutional Court was currently handling several judicial review petitions challenging articles under the 2017 Election Law, which serves as the basis of the PKPU.

Constitutional Court spokesperson Fajar Laksono, however, said the Supreme Court should not wait for the Constitutional Court's rulings on the petitions pertaining to the Election Law as the cases currently being reviewed at the Constitutional Court were unrelated to the stipulations of the PKPU disputed at the Supreme Court.

Fajar explained that the petitions related to the Election Law filed to the Constitutional Court challenged, among other things, stipulations on the presidential threshold and vice presidential terms of office, which were not linked to the rights of ex-graft convicts to contest elections.

"There is no reason for the Supreme Court to suspend the review of the PKPU [...] The Supreme Court must immediately review [the regulation] and issue its ruling," Fajar said.

Supreme Court spokesperson Suhadi has previously cited Article 55 of the 2003 Constitutional Court Law, which stipulates that the Supreme Court must suspend the review of a regulation if the law that serves as the basis for the regulation is under review by the Constitutional Court, until the latter hands down its ruling.

Fajar, however, said that an Constitutional Court ruling related to the judicial reviews challenging Article 55 of the Election Law issued in March argued that the Supreme Court must suspend its review if the stipulations in the disputed regulation were related to the stipulations in a law that was under review by the Constitutional Court at the same time.

"Why should the Supreme Court wait for the Constitutional Court [rulings] if the stipulations are unrelated?" Fajar went on.

The PKPU No. 20/2018 has become a subject of dispute between the KPU and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), which has decided to allow 18 ex-graft convicts from 16 regions run as legislative candidates in next year's elections.

Bawaslu maintained that the PKPU was not in line with the Election Law and that the agency wanted to refer to the Election Law, not the KPU regulation.

Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto has asked the Supreme Court to prioritize the review case so the KPU could finalize the final candidate list (DCT) for the 2019 legislative elections by Sept. 20 at the latest.

"The key is the Supreme Court, which will decide whether or not the PKPU is upheld or rejected," Wiranto said. "The next step taken by Bawaslu or the KPU will be based on the court's decision."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/supreme-court-called-on-to-resolve-ex-graft-convict-election-candidate-controversy.html

Ex-military chief in Yudhoyono era named Prabowo campaign head

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – Democratic Party secretary-general Hinca Panjaitan has confirmed that Gerindra Party politician and former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Djoko Santoso will head the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno campaign team.

"About Pak Djoko, it's not about claims [anymore]. This is a fact and we have conducted meetings with him. It's only a matter of time before we announce it," Hinca said on Tuesday.

Previously, several candidates were rumored to be the campaign's team chairman, including Democratic chairman and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his son Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono and National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Zulkifli Hasan.

Prabowo's coalition, however, seems to have settled on Djoko, who was the commander of the TNI under Yudhoyono, thanks to his lobbying ability. Prabowo confirmed that his campaign team would be led by Djoko.

Born in Surakarta on Sept. 8, 1952, Djoko served as Kodam Jaya military commander and army chief of staff before being appointed TNI chief in 2007 by then-president Yudhoyono. After he retired, he joined Gerindra.

Hinca said the structure of the campaign team had been deliberated by members of the coalition. "It's all complete. All political parties have prepared [a list of people who will join the team] and we will report it soon," he added.

The official campaign period for the election starts on Sept. 23. (kuk)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/ex-military-chief-in-yudhoyono-era-named-prabowo-campaign-head.html

FPI, Muhammadiyah prefer Prabowo while Jokowi popular with NU

Tempo - September 4, 2018

Vindry Florentin, Jakarta – Incumbent presidential and vice presidential hopeful Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Ma'aruf Amin is known to have garnered support from religious and cultural voters affiliated to Nahdalatul Ulama (NU).

Meanwhile, the poll conducted by Y-Publica also revealed that Jokowi's rival Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno are more backed by Muhammadiyah voters. In the eyes of NU voters, the poll released on September 3 deemed Jokowi-Ma'aruf superior with 59 percent and Prabowo-Sandiaga with 23.3 percent.

"The pair's superiority cannot be separated from Ma'aruf's status as an NU member," said Executive Director y-Publica Rudi Hartono in Jakarta on Monday, September 3.

Meanwhile, Prabowo was a step ahead of Jokowi in the Muhammadiyah voters with Prabowo generating 42.7 percent support while Jokowi was just behind with 39.9 percent. The Prabowo-Sandiaga pair are also more popular among members of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) scoring 67.5 percent.

However, outside of the NU, Muhammadiyah, and FPI demographics, more respondents reacted positively for the Jokowi-Ma'aruf pair and scored 52.7 percent compared to their counterpart that only garnered 27.9 percent support of the 1,200 random respondents that represented 120 areas from 34 provinces across Indonesia.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/04/055921328/FPI-Muhammadiyah-Prefer-Prabowo-while-Jokowi-Popular-with-NU

'Militant Moms' protest group demands that Jokowi step down as

Coconuts Jakarta - September 4, 2018

A small but impassioned protest group made their voices heard in front of the offices of the General Election Commission (KPU) in Jakarta yesterday morning.

Calling themselves Barisan Emak-Emak Militan (which could be translated as "Militant Moms Front") the group of about 30 women, all wearing red hijab, demanded that President Joko Widodo step down from office.

They were not, however, asking that Jokowi resign from the presidency for some specific offense. Instead, they argued that he should step down temporarily until the presidential election in April for the sake of fairness.

"The president has to step down because he has already become a presidential candidate. Stepping down is more honorable, more safe for democracy," said coordinator Tri Erniyanti.

Basically their argument is that the president should have to step down while campaigning for re-election since he could use his powers to unfairly influence the election. And their argument is not without precedent. In fact, Indonesian election regulations require that officials in other high-ranking positions, such as governor, step down from office temporarily while running for re-election to prevent them from using their official influence to sway the outcome.

The militant moms group specifically cited Sandiaga Uno – the former Vice Governor of Jakarta who recently resigned from his position after just ten months in office in order to join Jokowi's 2019 challenger, Gerindra chairman Prabowo Subianto, as his running mate – as an example of an honorable politician doing the right thing (even though, in Sandiaga's case, he was required by law to resign).

The Prabowo-Sandiaga team have made emak-emak (a term for middle-aged women and mom) a major target of their campaign, in part because they want to focus on economic issues like the price of staple goods (although it is also rumored that they think Sandiaga's good looks will help them win with this demographic).

The Barisan Emak-Emak Militan group seems to be closely connected to the controversial #2019GantiPresiden (Replace the President in 2019) movement, but the organizers of yesterday's demo wanted to make it very clear that they were not paid protesters.

"We are not cheerleaders, no. We are speaking from our hearts, we are not paid, we pay our costs ourselves, this movement is born from our awareness of the pitiable state of this country," speaker Kurnia Tri Rayani told the crowd.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/militant-moms-protest-group-demands-jokowi-step-president/

PDI-P politician says Ahok welcome to join party upon release from

Coconuts Jakarta - September 3, 2018

As former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama nears the end of his two-year prison sentence for blasphemy, one question remains unanswered: will he return to politics?

PDI-P, of which long-time Ahok ally President Joko Widodo is a cadre, seems interested in Ahok joining the political party upon his release. In fact, one PDI-P politician said that the party plans on formally inviting the controversial politician to officially become a party cadre.

"That is for certain (the invitation), but the decision lies with Ahok," Jakarta City Council PDI-P Fraction Deputy Chairman Pantas Nainggolan told Okezone today.

Pantas added that, although no invitation for Ahok has been formally extended yet, he believes that the party's elites have been in constant communication with the former governor while he's been in prison.

Ahok, who is currently not a member of any political party, has a friendly history with PDI-P and a rather hostile one with its main opposition rival party, Gerindra. Ahok was a Gerindra cadre when he was elected as Jakarta vice governor under then-Governor Joko Widodo in 2012, but he soon quit the party over ideological differences.

For the 2017 gubernatorial election, Ahok was initially going to run as an independent candidate but he and his volunteers had numerous bureaucratic hurdles thrown at them, ultimately preventing Ahok from achieving what would have been a historic first for Indonesian democracy. He eventually accepted PDI-P's nomination, only to become embroiled in a trumped-up blasphemy scandal for which he was sentenced to two years in prison in May 2017.

According to Ahok's lawyer and sister, Fifi Lety Tjahaja Purnama, Ahok reportedly received a two-month remission for his sentence meaning he will be released from prison on January 24, 2019.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/pdi-p-politician-says-ahok-welcome-join-party-upon-release-prison/

List of former corruptors, political parties running for election

Tempo - September 3, 2018

Danang Firmanto, Jakarta – The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) let through 12 former convicts of corruption run as legislative candidates in the 2019 General Elections (Pemilu), which is proven to be an unpopular decision among the public while the General Elections Commission (KPU) has stressed the importance of clean legislation candidates.

Regional KPUs have also agreed to postpone upon implementing Bawaslu's policies until the Supreme Court (MA) issues an official verdict on KPUs policy on forbidding corruptors run for the 2019 legislative election.

The KPU Decree No. 20/2018 on legislation member candidacy had sparked polemic for the past three months. Its fourth Article, KPU bars political parties from endorsing convicts of crimes involving narcotics, sexual-crimes involving children, and corruption cases as legislator candidates.

According to Koran Tempo, the following are several political parties that have let its members, which are former convicts of corruption cases, run for the 2019 legislative election.









DPD Aceh

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/03/055921310/List-of-Former-Corruptors-Political-Parties-Running-for-Election

Election agencies clash over allowing corruption convicts to run as

Coconuts Jakarta - September 3, 2018

In a country where the government is trying to convince the public that politics is not synonymous with corruption, you would think that everybody would agree that allowing politicians who have already been tried and convicted of corruption to run for office again is not a good idea.

But a regulation barring corruption convicts from running as electoral candidates, issued just in July by the General Election Commission (KPU), has proven to be quite contentious. A separate electoral oversight body, the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu), has brazenly ignored the new KPU regulation by officially registering 12 candidates who had been convicted of corruption charges to run in the 2019 election.

The KPU decided to pass the anti-corruption regulation on candidates despite stiff opposition by members of the House of Representatives (not surprising) as well as Bawaslu and even Jokowi's administration, who all argued that it'd be contravening the previous election law and infringe on the rights of corruption convicts. The KPU said they were determined to pass the regulation anyways and were prepared to defend it in court (though it has yet to be formally challenged on legal grounds).

Bawaslu announced recently that they had registered 12 corruption convicts to become candidates in 2019, arguing that KPU's regulation did not prevent them from registering candidates that had been nominated by their parties. (The KPU regulation specifically states that political parties are prohibited from nominating convicted corruptors. It also requires that political parties sign an integrity pact saying they will not do so.)

KPU officials fired back by saying that Bawaslu was obviously misinterpreting the spirit of the regulation and said it would reject all 12 candidates Bawaslu had greenlighted.

"If they remain registered (by Bawaslu), we will then declare that their status does not meet our requirements," KPU head Arief Budiman told reporters today as quoted by Kompas.

One of the candidates Bawaslu gave their okay to is M. Taufik, a current member of the Jakarta City Council (DPRD) who was found guilty of corruption while serving as chairman of the Jakarta KPU. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison for misappropriating IDR488 million (US$32,900) from the budget for the capital's 2004 elections.

Taufik, who is rumored to be among the politicians being considered by the Gerindra party to replace former Jakarta Vice Governor Sandiaga Uno, said he would fight the KPU's attempt to overturn Bawaslu's decision to allow him to run and has already submitted a challenge to the Supreme Court.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-election-agencies-clash-allowing-corruption-convicts-run-candidates/

Surveys & opinion polls

Indonesian consumers most optimistic globally: Survey

Jakarta Post - September 6, 2018

Jakarta – The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) of Indonesia remains stable with 127 percentage points (PP) in the second quarter of 2018, the same as the previous quarter, according to a Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence survey, in collaboration with Nielsen.

With the CCI at 127 percentage points, Indonesian consumers were the most optimistic globally, according to a press release issued by Nielsen on Wednesday.

The survey revealed the 10 most optimistic countries – Indonesia (127), the Philippines (127), India (124), the United States (123), Vietnam (120), Denmark (118), Malaysia (117), the United Arab Emirates (116), Pakistan (115) and China (113).

The press release showed that the CCI was driven by consumer perception about local job prospects, personal finances and intention/readiness to spend. For Indonesia, those drivers were relatively stable in the second quarter.

The survey found that 71 percent of Indonesian online consumers have a positive perception on future job prospects, which was the same as the previous quarter. About 63 percent of consumers said they intended to spend, a slight increase from 62 percent in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, 82 percent of consumers have a perception of the state of their personal finances, a slight decrease from 85 percent in the previous quarter. The survey also showed that most Indonesian consumers saved their spare cash.

In the second quarter, more than half (66 percent) of consumers chose to allocate their spare cash for savings, this figure increased from the previous quarter (65 percent), 46 percent chose to use it for holidays/vacations and 31 percent chose to buy high-tech gadgets. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/06/indonesian-consumers-most-optimistic-globally-survey.html

Jokowi-Ma'ruf more popular on social media, Prabowo-Sandiaga take

Jakarta Post - September 6, 2018

Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno are more popular on Instagram than President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin, but the latter pair are favored overall on social media, a poll conducted by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) has found.

The survey, conducted from Aug. 12 to 19, polled 1,200 respondents about who they would vote for in the 2019 presidential election.

Prabowo-Sandiaga defeated Jokowi-Ma'ruf on Instagram and Twitter, with 42 percent of Instagram users and 40 percent of Twitter users saying they supported the Gerindra Party-backed pair, compared to the 40.9 percent of Instagram users and 34.3 percent of Twitter users that supported Jokowi-Ma'ruf.

However, Jokowi-Ma'ruf were more popular across all social media platforms, including Facebook. Of the 28.5 percent of respondents who said they used social media, 48.3 percent preferred Jokowi-Ma'ruf, compared to Prabowo-Sandiaga's 39.5 percent.

LSI researcher Ardian Sopa attributed the increase in support for Prabowo-Sandiaga to the demographic make-up of social media users.

"Social media users are mostly from the upper middle-class and are generally better informed and more likely to be critical of those in positions of power," he said at the release of the survey results on Wednesday.

He said the #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident) hashtag had also helped to boost support for Prabowo, although the hashtag has not trended as strongly since July.

Although the poll showed that 71.5 percent of respondents did not have a social media account, Ardian said candidates who ignored the online world did so at their own peril.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/06/jokowi-maruf-more-popular-on-social-media-prabowo-sandiaga-take-instagram-survey-finds.html

Jokowi's work performance and electability imbalanced: Pollster

Tempo - September 4, 2018

Vindry Florentin, Jakarta – Pollster Y-Publica recorded that the public's satisfaction increased towards the performance of the administration led by Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Jusuf Kalla, however the same can't be said for Jokowi's electability as a presidential candidate.

Y-Publica Executive Director Rudi Hartono kept track of the public satisfaction in May (72.5 percent) had improved to 78.2 percent in August with the projects most appreciated being the government's infrastructure development with 78.2 percent, corruption eradication (74.5 percent), foreign affairs (74.2 percent), law enforcement (73.1 percent), and education (72.6 percent).

However, Jokowi's electability remained in the 50 percent range, a stark contrast to the public response for his work. "Jokowi's electability never touched 60 percent," said Rudi yesterday.

Rudi further reminded that President Jokowi must take notice of this phenomenon and suggested the incumbent candidate to focus on how to deliver his performance since the beginning, especially in economic issues.

He revealed that 50.4 respondents said that Indonesia's economic condition now is still the same five years ago, prior to Jokowi's administration. As much as 16.7 percent respondents thought that the current economic situation has worsened.

Jokowi's administration, said Rudi, must place more attention to other issues such as healthcare issues that scored 70.7 percent public trust on May but on August dropped to 50.7 percent. The same happened at the human rights issues that scored 47.9 percent.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/04/055921335/Jokowis-Work-Performance-and-Electability-Imbalanced-Pollster

Social organisations & NGOs

NGOs hold 'people summit' ahead of IMF-World Bank meeting

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2018

Jakarta – Fifteen NGOs plan to hold a conference on Oct. 8 to 10 ahead of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Meeting, to be held from Oct. 12 to 14 in Bali.

"The people summit on alternative development is aimed at consolidating the voices of civil society in Indonesia and other countries that have been critical of policies and programs initiated by the World Bank and the IMF," said Hamong Santono, chairman of the summit's organizing committee, in a press release on Monday.

He said the organizers had prepared thematic workshops centered on the historical debt of the World Bank and IMF; anticorruption efforts, transparency and development funding; public service, inclusion and gender fairness; tax fairness and disparity; legally binding treaties in business and human rights for international financial institutions; human rights, public infrastructure and the tourist industry; digital economy and decent jobs; and climate change and natural resources.

Meanwhile, Arimbi Heropoetri of debtWATCH Indonesia said the country had yet to carry out a comprehensive evaluation of the World Bank and IMF. "We still remember in 1998 when the IMF gave Indonesia advice on financial balance. But, although we have paid the debt, we still feel the impact [of the crisis] now," he added.

Andi Muttaqien of ELSAM said the summit had been organized before the IMF and World Bank Meeting because civil society wanted to present the negative impacts of projects funded by the institutions. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/NGOs-hold-people-summit-ahead-of-imf-world-bank-meeting.html

Environment & natural disasters

Wildfires raze hectares of land in Sukabumi nature reserves

Jakarta Post - September 4, 2018

Jakarta – Wildfires engulfed hectares of land in the Cikepuh and Cibanteng nature reserves in Sukabumi, West Java, between July and August.

The West Java Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA) recorded that at least 27 hotspots, which were located on the savannah, had scorched about 232 ha of the two nature reserves' total area, kompas.com reported.

Kusmara of the BKSDA said the savannah was prone to fires during the dry season. The fires, he added, were also found inside the buffer zones close to land owned by local residents.

"We are still investigating the cause of the fire because there is suspicion of illegal activities in the area," Kusmara said on Monday, as quoted by kompas.com, without giving more information.

Cikepuh and Cibanteng are part of the Ciletuh-Pelabuhan Ratu National Geopark, which gained global recognition as a UNESCO Global Geopark earlier this year. In September last year, fires razed at least 19 ha of forest in Cikepuh.

Kusmara said the authorities were continuing to work to prevent further fires, including encouraging local residents to take part in wildfire prevention campaigns.

During this year's dry season peak between July and August, the country saw an increase in the number of land and forest fires in several provinces, with West Kalimantan becoming the region with the most hotspots to date. (kuk/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/04/wildfires-raze-hectares-of-land-in-sukabumi-nature-reserves.html

Fires burning inside palm oil concessions linked to major household

The Ecologist - September 4, 2018

Marianne Brooker – People in Indonesia are sick and tired. The Indonesian Government promised to stop rogue companies but the palm oil industry still isn't listening.

Fires have broken out on peatland inside palm oil concessions in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The concessions belong to suppliers of some of the biggest household brands in the world including Mondelez, Nestle and Unilever, new documentation from Greenpeace Indonesia shows.

There has been a huge increase in the number of fire hotspots across Indonesia in 2018. As many as 9,819 fire hotspots have been identified this year so far, nearly three times the number identified in all of 2017 (3,488).

Major industries

The number of fire hotspots has been growing steadily throughout August, with Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warning that the increasingly dry weather could see fires continue to increase through September.

One of the concessions, PT Sumatera Unggul Makmur (PT SUM), has burned every year since 2013. It belongs to Gama, a palm oil company closely connected to the world's largest palm oil trader, Wilmar.

Fire hotspots have also been recorded in concessions belonging to Bumitama and First Resources. All three producers have been supplying palm oil to major brands, including Mondelez, Nestle and Unilever, via Wilmar and other palm oil traders and all three are members of the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil, the industry's sustainability certification body.

As palm oil producers clear trees and drain marshes for new plantations, the dried out peat becomes dangerously susceptible to catching fire.

Specialist prevention

Annisa Rahmawati, forest campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said: "People in Indonesia are sick and tired. The Indonesian Government promised to stop rogue companies but the palm oil industry still isn't listening.

"It's early days yet and we hope the fires don't get worse, but the haze is already shutting down schools and putting people's lives at risk."

Greenpeace Indonesia has its own Forest Fire Prevention team, which was established in 2016 and is made up of specially trained volunteers and former victims of forest fires and haze.

Prevention is the team's central focus. They are trained to detect fires and put them out before they become more dangerous and widespread. They also investigate where there is potential for fires to break out, work to raise awareness of the importance of forest and peatland protection for local communities and extinguish fires whenever possible.

They working alongside a special firefighting team from the Ministry of Forestry and Environment, local communities and local NGOs and are supported by Greenpeace Russia's forest fire experts.

Governmental negligence

Arif Setiawan from Rasau Jaya in West Kalimantan has been impacted by the fires every year since 2008, which is why he joined the Greenpeace Forest Fire Prevention team. He said:

"Out on patrol, the peatlands are dry. When the wind blew we watched the fire engulf land and vegetation. We can smell the smoke as it spreads to Pontianak, it's been thick in recent weeks, and my hometown is close to the hotspots so it's even worse there.

"When it's this bad children stay at home. The sad thing is people are getting used to living life wearing masks."

Last Saturday, Indonesia's President, Joko Widodo, was found guilty of negligence by a Palangkaraya High Court for the Indonesian Government's handling of the deadly 2015 fires. The Government is appealing the decision at the Supreme Court.

Arie Rompas, one of the principal plaintiffs and forest campaign team leader of Greenpeace Indonesia, said: "Instead of appealing this verdict, the government needs to accept it messed up and fix the problem by bringing the palm oil industry to heel.

"President Jokowi must take charge of the situation and enforce the law against companies that don't protect their land from fire."

[Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor for The Ecologist. This story is based on a press release from Greenpeace.]

Source: https://theecologist.org/2018/sep/04/fires-burning-inside-palm-oil-concessions-linked-major-household-brands-reports

Health & education

Heathcare agency awaiting govt funds to cover Rp 3.5t debt

Jakarta Post - September 7, 2018

Jakarta – The Healthcare and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan) is waiting for government funds to pay debts of Rp 3.5 trillion (US$234.65 million) that had been used to purchase medicines, it said in Jakarta on Thursday.

BPJS Kesehatan spokesman M. Iqbal Anas Ma'ruf said agency representatives had met with the Pharmacological Companies Association (GP Farmasi) to explain the situation. "We were open and transparent. They understood our situation," Iqbal said as quoted by kotan.co.id.

GP Farmasi had recently notified BPJS Kesehatan that it had Rp 3.5 trillion in maturing debt.

Iqbal added that the agency wanted to pay the debt as soon as possible because otherwise, it would have to pay an additional 1 percent of any arrears it had accrued, which it could not afford.

Iqbal could not provide details on the agency's arrears. He said BPJS Kesehatan was facing difficulties in gathering data on its overdue debt, as some of the data was not always provided for the batch payments the agency made to hospitals.

"We try to look at it objectively. We pay on a first come, first served basis," he said, adding that the agency had requested the government's help in monitoring its payment obligations to hospitals. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/07/heathcare-agency-awaiting-govt-funds-to-cover-rp-3-5t-debt.html

Karawang hospital delays paying doctors as BPJS owes Rp 6.6 billion

Jakarta Post - September 6, 2018

Jakarta – The management of private hospital Karya Husada in Karawang, West Java, has issued a letter for its doctor specialists and dentists about their late honorariums as a result of unpaid claims from the Health Care and Social Security Agency (BPJS Kesehatan).

A screenshot of the letter dated Sept. 4 was posted by Pundi Ferianto, the hospital director, on his Facebook account on Tuesday. It has been making the rounds on social media.

The Facebook post has been shared by around 7,600 and garnered more than 2,600 comments as of Wednesday night.

Pundi, who signed the letter, stated that the agency had yet to pay its claims for June and July, all of which are due in September. The total in unpaid claims amounts to Rp 6.6 billion (US$447,271).

The hospital management promised to pay the doctors' honorariums in the third week of September or after the agency fulfills its obligation, as stated in the letter.

BPJS Kesehatan spokesperson M. Iqbal Anas Ma'ruf told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday that the agency was aware of the statement made by Pundi and that the Karawang chapter of BPJS Kesehatan had coordinated directly with the hospital.

"We acknowledged there was a delay in the claim payment but we're committed to paying it," he said, adding that the agency had proposed that the hospital implement a supply chain financing scheme to maintain liquidity.

With the scheme, a bank as the hospital's partner would deal with the invoices.

Since its establishment in 2014, BPJS Kesehatan has been running a yearly deficit, with the latest being Rp 10 trillion last year. The deficit is due to its collected contributions being lower than its health insurance costs. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/06/karawang-hospital-delays-paying-doctors-as-bpjs-owes-rp-6-6-billion.html

After 4 children drown crossing river returning from school,

Coconuts Jakarta - September 6, 2018

In many parts of rural Indonesia, a lack of basic infrastructure means that many young children have no choice but to make dangerous journeys across rivers every day just to get to school.

Those were the circumstances that led to the tragic death of four schoolchildren, aged 5-13, on North Sumatra's Nias Island on Monday.

The children died while crossing the Borofino River in Balombaruzo Village while making their way back home after school on Monday afternoon. According to authorities, while the river is usually shallow at the point that they were crossing, there was suddenly a heavy flow from upstream that swept the three elementary school students and one junior high school students away.

One other child who was with the group but had not yet entered the river when his classmates were dragged off managed to inform his mother and a search party was quickly formed. Heartbreakingly, all four students were found dead over the following two days.

South Nias Police Chief Faisal Napitupulu said that many children in his district had to cross a lot of rivers to go to school, as many as 2-3 in some cases. He said he hoped that bridges over the rivers could be built soon using village funds or assistance from the central government to ensure no such deaths took place again.

Legislators in the House of Representatives have already spoken out about the tragic deaths, with House Commission X, which oversees matters regarding education, echoing the sentiment that something needs to be done now to prevent such deaths from ever happening again.

"I hope there will be no more school children who are victims, they should be the last," said Putu Supadma Rudana, a member of Commission X from the Democratic Party, in a written statement to Detik on Wednesday night.

"We will immediately ask the Ministry of Education and Culture to monitor every rural area. If there is no bridge (for children to get to school), the central government must immediately build them. If not, build a bridge over the river using the village funds. These children are the future of the nation, don't let them lose their lives like this," Putu wrote.

The legislator also said his commission would question officials from South Nias to understand how this incident took place and how long children had been having to go to school under such dangerous conditions.

A video showing children risking their lives to get to their school in the village of Bonto Matinngi in the regency of Maros, South Sulawesi, went viral earlier this year.

Media reports indicated that the local government had plans and a budget allocated to the construction of a bridge for students in Maros since 2015, but construction failed to get off the ground... for some reason. But the viral video showing the student's plight led to a generous outpouring of donations to crowdfunding site Kitabisa.com, which raised IDR198 million (US$14,275) for the bridge's construction, work on which is supposedly underway now.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/4-children-drown-crossing-river-get-home-school-n-sumatra-politicians-demand-action/

Rubella kills baby in Jambi as vaccination campaign meets

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Jon Afrizal, Jambi – A baby in Batanghari regency, Jambi, reportedly died due to the rubella virus as a vaccination campaign in the predominantly Muslim area meets public resistance.

Batanghari Health Agency head Elfie Yennie confirmed the report to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, saying that the mother was found to be rubella positive after a toxoplasma rubella cytomegalo virus herpes simplex (TORCH) test.

"The baby was born with defects and passed away," said Elfie. The mother contracted the rubella during pregnancy and infected the baby.

Rubella, also known as German measles, is caused by the rubella virus and usually only lasts about three days. But infections in pregnant women can lead to miscarriages or permanent deformities.

The government is currently promoting a measles-rubella (MR) immunization campaign for children aged 9 months to under 15 years old in provinces outside Java Island from August to September this year with a coverage rate target of 95 percent.

The government hopes that the immunization coverage targeting children will also protect people, who are older, from rubella. Pregnant women are not included in the program.

The Batanghari regency recorded 57 cases of rubella over the past 20 months. Some cases caused miscarriages, infected pregnant women and saw babies being born with defects.

Elfie said the recent death is one of two cases of babies born with defects who had the rubella virus. The other baby is still alive.

The vaccination program is lagging behind in Batanghari, reaching only 38.2 percent coverage after five weeks of implementation. Nationwide, the program, which is being implemented in provinces outside Java, only averaged 39.3 percent as of Wednesday afternoon.

Concerns that the vaccine contains pork gelatine has raised the ire of Muslim residents as pork is considered forbidden in Islam.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has issued an edict declaring the MR vaccine to be mubah (permitted for Muslims) despite containing the prohibited substance. But more people decided to opt out of the program after the edict, especially in predominantly conservative Muslim regions.

In Aceh, a conservative Muslim province that implements sharia, vaccination coverage only reached 6.8 percent, the lowest in the country. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/rubella-kills-baby-in-jambi-as-vaccination-campaign-meets-resistance.html

Corruption & abuse of power

Government spends $1.6 million per month to pay officials convicted

Jakarta Post - September 7, 2018

Jakarta – The government is spending a huge amount of money on the salaries of civil servants who have been convicted of graft, the National Civil Service Agency (BKN) has said.

The money spent is estimated to be Rp 23.57 billion (US$1.6 million) per month.

"A rough estimate is about an average of Rp 10 million multiplied by 2,357 civil servants, which equals to Rp 23.57 billion a month," BKN spokesman Mohammad Ridwan told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

He said the estimate was not official and that only the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) had the authority to calculate the exact number. "The [amount in] state losses is huge. But the exact number can only be calculated by the BPK," he said.

The BKN revealed on Tuesday that of the 2,674 civil servants that were convicted of corruption, 317 were dishonorably dismissed, meaning the remaining 2,357 are still active as civil servants and, therefore, still get a monthly salary.

Employment data of the convicted civil servants has been blocked by the agency to avoid further state loss. The move affects the civil servants' jobs, such with promotions, job rotations and raises.

However, the termination of the payroll for civil servants requires a decree issued by each personnel supervisor (PPK), including the minister, governor, mayor and regent.

"We can block the employment data but it's not enough. Only the PPKs have the authority to dishonorably dismiss them," Ridwan said. "The PPKs, do not hesitate to fire them," he added.

The agency, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK), the Home Ministry and the Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry are currently discussing the government's measure in handling the problem.

KPK chairman Agus Rahardjo previously said that the commission was calculating the amount in state losses. (sau/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/07/govt-spends-1-6-million-per-month-to-pay-officials-convicted-of-graft.html

KPK urges government to dishonorably discharge corrupt civil

Tempo - September 6, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) officially requested the personnel supervisor official (PPK) to immediately terminate currently active civil servants (PNS) convicts of corruption cases.

"It should affect the person's employment such as a promotion and raise, which shall be terminated," said KPK spokesman Febri Diansyah in Jakarta yesterday.

However, Febri said that the civil servant in question should continue to receive their rightful wage until the person is rightfully an official termination of employment is issued.

"The PPK should dishonorably discharge them. We ask the PPK to not be tolerant or compromise with people that indulge in corruption," the KPK spokesman said.

The National Civil Service Agency (BKN) recorded 2,357 active members that have been named as suspects of corruption, which the agency followed up by blocking the data of these personnel to avoid further state losses.

According to the BKN Head Haria Wibisana, the agency found 2,674 civil servants named suspects of corruption where 317 of them have been dishonorably discharged. Meanwhile, 2,357 of them are currently still active civil servants. KPK has yet calculated the total losses endured by the country.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/06/055921408/KPK-Urges-Govt-to-Dishonorably-Discharge-Corrupt-Civil-Servants

After bribery, KPK slaps gratuity charges on Malang councillors

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has rubbed salt in the wounds of dozens of East Java's Malang City Council members who are implicated in a graft case pertaining to the city's budget deliberation.

On Wednesday, the antigraft body said it suspected that councillors also accepted gratuities related to one of the city's program.

"The Malang City Council members are [also] suspected of accepting unlawful gifts totaling around Rp 5.8 billion [US$386,597]. Investigators are gathering evidence on the allegations of gratuities related to the waste management fund in Malang," said KPK spokesman Febri Dianysah.

He added that the antigraft body had warned all suspects to cooperate during the investigation as well as returning every cent of the illicit money they had accepted to the KPK, as it would be considered as mitigating factors during the prosecution.

"Several council members [that have been detained] have admitted to their wrongdoing and returned the money to the commission," Febri said.

As of Wednesday, the KPK has named 41 out of 45 Malang City council members suspects in a bribery case related to the deliberation of the 2015 city budget. It has also detained Mayor Mochamad Anton who is suspected of distributing Rp 700 million in bribes to councillors.

The investigation has raised concerns that it will disrupt the continuity of local government, as both legislative and executive branches of the city are currently vacant.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/after-bribery-KPK-slaps-gratuity-charges-on-malang-councillors.html

Malang Council loses 41 of 45 members to KPK detention

Jakarta Post - September 4, 2018

Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has named another 22 Malang City Council members in East Java as suspects in an alleged bribery case related to the city's budget deliberation for the 2015 budget year, with the result that more than 90 percent of the council members have now been implicated in the graft case.

During a press briefing on Monday, KPK deputy chairwoman Basaria Panjaitan said the councillors were suspected of accepting unlawful gifts from former Malang mayor Mochamad Anton regarding the deliberation.

"Investigators have obtained sufficient evidence and witness testimony that each of the 22 suspects accepted gratuities of between Rp 12.5 million [US$842] and 50 million," Basaria said.

Five Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) councilors have been implicated, the highest number, followed by the Gerindra Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) with three council members each.

The KPK's latest move is the third such time it has named members of Malang's executive and legislative institutions suspects in the graft case. The first was in August last year, when graft busters arrested Malang City Council speaker M. Arief Wicaksono for allegedly accepting bribe money from Malang Public Works, Housing and Building Supervisory Agency head Jarot Edy Sulistyono.

The second time was in March, when the antigraft body named former mayor Anton, who was seeking reelection in this year's election, and 18 councillors as suspects.

Jarot allegedly gave Rp 700 million to Arief to speed up the revision of the 2015 city budget, Anton later allegedly gave Rp 600 million of the money to Anton to be distributed to other councillors.

While Jarot and Arief have been found guilty in the case, Anton is currently facing a prosecutors' sentence demand of three years' imprisonment, Rp 200 million in fines as well as a revocation of his political rights for four years after serving the sentence.

Basaria said the case showed that corruption could be engaged in en masse involving regional heads along with subordinates and local councillors.

In total, 41 of 45 Malang city council members have been implicated in the graft case, which raises concerns as to whether it will disrupt the continuity of the local government, as the council cannot reach the quorum of 50 percent plus one at a meeting.

Responding to the issue, the Home Minister Tjahjo Kumolo said, as reported by kompas.com, that he would "issue a ministerial discretion to prevent the government from not functioning." (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/malang-council-loses-41-of-45-members-to-KPK-detention.html

Terrorism & religious extremism

Densus 88 officers shoot dead W. Java police shooters

Jakarta Post - September 4, 2018

Jakarta – The National Police's Densus 88 counterterrorism squad shot dead on Monday two individuals who were allegedly involved in the shooting of two police officers on the Kanci-Pejagan toll road near Cirebon, West Java.

"Two suspects, identified by the initials IA and RS, resisted arrest and tried to shoot police officers. Therefore, we took a tough and measured action [to shoot them]," National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said on Monday as quoted by Antara.

RS reportedly was a member of the Cirebon chapter of Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), a homegrown terror group that was recently banned. The police suspected it was a revenge attack over the arrest in July of RS' in-law for alleged involvement with the JAD.

In Monday's operation, two others were arrested on suspicion that they assisted the main suspects during the shooting on Aug. 24.

At that time, two traffic officers, First Adj. Insp. Dodon Kusdianto and First Adj. Insp. Widi Harjana, were conducting a routine patrol on the Kanci-Pejagan toll road when they encountered three men sitting on the side of the toll road.

The officers, thinking that the men needed assistance, stopped to help but were shot at by one of the suspects as they approached. Dodon died in a hospital several days later, while Widi has shown signs of improvement after being treated.

The police also arrested three other suspects on Sunday. "Several individuals allegedly indirectly involved with the shooting are still at large," Setyo said. (kuk/ipa)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/04/densus-88-officers-shoot-dead-w-java-police-shooters.html

Densus 88 kills two terror suspects allegedly involved in attack on

Jakarta Globe - September 3, 2018

Farouk Arnaz, Jakarta – Densus 88, the National Police's elite counterterrorism unit, has shot and killed two men believed to be responsible for an attack on two traffic police officers on the Cikampek-Palimanan Toll Road in Cirebon, West Java, last month.

A police source with knowledge of the matter, who requested anonymity, said officers arrested two other men also believed to have been involved in the attack.

Second Insp. Dodon and First Insp. Adj. Widi were shot while on patrol on Aug. 24. Dodon later died in hospital, while Widi is currently still in critical condition.

The four men who allegedly carried out attack are believed to be members of the Cirebon chapter of Islamic State-affiliated terror group Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD).

The source said the two suspects were shot after resisting arrest during a raid on a house in Kalisalak village in Margasari subdistrict, Tegal, Central Java, at 09.30 a.m.

The South Jakarta District Court declared JAD a forbidden organization in July, over its involvement in high-profile terrorist attacks in Indonesia, including a series of suicide bombings in Surabaya, East Java, that killed more than 30 people.

The police have since arrested many of the group's members since then, including the first in command, Aman Abdurrahman, who is currently on death row after his conviction in June on separate terrorism charges.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/densus-88-kills-two-terror-suspects-allegedly-involved-in-attack-on-traffic-police/

Religion & politics

Minister blasts intimidation against Muslim preacher Abdul Somad

Jakarta Post - September 4, 2018

Jakarta – Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin has said that he is against the intimidation of religious preachers, including ustadz (Muslim teacher) Abdul Somad.

"There must be no deterrence, intimidation or any other disturbances that threaten the security and safety of religious preachers," he said on Tuesday as quoted by tempo.co.

Lukman said that such acts were not allowed as long as sermons were educational, enlightening and broadened religious knowledge as well as strengthened unity.

He said he had communicated with the police on putting a stop to threats and intimidation against religious preachers.

On Sunday, Abdul Somad announced via his official Instagram account that he had canceled his religious outreach events in some part of Java Island.

The cancellation was made because of alleged threats and intimidation from people in the Central Java regencies of Grobogan, Kudus, Jepara and Semarang.

"The burden of the committee is getting heavier. [It has affected] the psychological condition of myself and the participants," Somad claimed. "Therefore, I have canceled several events in Central Java, East Java and Yogyakarta."

Somad was nominated by a group of Islamic preachers to be the running mate of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto but the ustadz refused the offer.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/04/ministeropposesintimidation-against-muslim-preacher-abdul-somad.html

Pornography & sexual morality

Surabaya mayor vows to defend former red light district after court

Coconuts Jakarta - September 7, 2018

Before it was shut down in 2014, Surabaya's Dolly was the largest red light district in Southeast Asia. The woman most instrumental in the shutdown, Mayor Tri Rismaharini, popularly known as Risma, won much praise from citizens for her swift and stern action to eradicate prostitution in the city, but, as is be the case with any prohibition of that magnitude, there was bound to be blowbacks.

Part of the legal backlash over Dolly's closure was a class action lawsuit recently fild against the Surabaya administration by the residents of the neighborhood, who argued that the closure of the red light district caused huge material and immaterial damages. The group demanded IDR270 billion (US$15.15 million) from the administration in compensation.

But the first step in the lawsuit ended in disappointment for the plaintiffs after the Surabaya District Court rejected the lawsuit on administrative grounds, saying it should have been filed with the State Administrative Court (PTUN).

However, any lawsuit against a government policy must be filed no later than 90 days after the policy is enacted.

"This makes no sense. The closure of Dolly was in 2014, or four years ago. Because of that, we will appeal," Nain Suryono, legal counsel for the plaintiffs, told Kompas earlier this week.

But Mayor Risma says she's undeterred by more potential lawsuits or anybody who wishes to bring prostitution back to Dolly.

"If that's what they want, kill me to get it over with. But I will not let the children of Surabaya be destroyed [by prostitution]," she said today, as quoted by Detik.

One of Risma's justifications for shutting down Dolly back in 2014 was to prevent human trafficking into the red light district and the negative effects that being exposed to prostitution could have to the children living in the neighborhood.

"If you know their stories they're horrifying. But I don't want to tell the stories now. What's in the past is in the past, let's begin again together, let's solve our problems together," she said.

Around 1,500 sex workers were evicted from Dolly after its shutdown. Critics said that the shutdown would only drive the evicted sex workers underground, bringing about new problems regarding the safety and sexual health of both the prostitutes and their clients.

In February 2015, five months after the shutdown, Coconuts Jakarta did an investigation into the effects of Dolly's shutdown and found that there were indeed evidence of the aforementioned new problems.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/kill-first-surabaya-mayor-vows-defend-dolly-court-rejects-idr270-billion-lawsuit-closure-former-red-light-district/

Jakarta & urban life

Demonstrators demand Governor Anies keep campaign promise to not

Coconuts Jakarta - September 6, 2018

Although overshadowed by the politicized blasphemy charges against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, one of the most contentious issues in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election was Ahok's policy of evicting citizens living in slum areas, especially those located near waterways that the former governor was working to normalize as a key flood control measure.

Current Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan criticized Ahok's eviction policy and promised a more humane approach under his administration, saying there would be no more "tearful" evictions. Yesterday, residents of Jalan Cakung Cilincing in East Jakarta demonstrated in front of Jakarta City Hall to demand that the governor keep that promise and not evict them.

"Residents of Jalan Cakung Cilincing reject the eviction and refuse (to be relocated to government housing). We hope our demands are met in accordance with the governor's promise," said Ahmad, the chairman of the United Madura Alliance, during his speech at the rally as quoted by Kompas.

The government informed the residents of Cakung Cilincing on Friday that they were being evicted due to the construction of a new water canal project. They were given one more final notice this week.

Ahmad reminded the governor that Aliansi Madura Bersatu and the residents of Cakung Cilincing had supported Anies and campaigned for his victory based on his promises.

Terima kasih atas dukungan teman-teman Aliansi Madura Bersatu. Mari kita bersama-sama kembalikan Jakarta menjadi kota yang manusiawi. – Posted by Anies Baswedan on Tuesday, January 3, 2017

"It's not easy to win Pak Governor, working day and night, crying, not getting rest, empty stomachs. We prayed day and night and thank God, you won. We now demand the rights, promises to us," Ahmad said.

Anies has not yet made any statements regarding the demonstration but East Jakarta City Secretary Usmayadi said yesterday that the government was still planning on going through with the evictions as the water channel normalization project was important to prevent further flooding in the Cakung area.

Usmayadi said that the only buildings that would be demolished were those built illegally and without proper certificates. An estimated 122 buildings are set for demolition.

While Ahok was heavily criticized by some for his eviction policy, the former governor defended them, in part, on the grounds that his administration's was building numerous new rusunawa (low-cost apartments) to house those who had been evicted.

Ahok's administration had initiated long-term plans to build many more rusunawa to house the capital's neediest families (his goal was to build 50,000 units by the end of 2017), but many of those plans have been cancelled now under the administration of current Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan.

Last month, the Jakarta Public Housing and Settlement Agency announced that it had dropped plans to build eight rusunawa towers that had already been allocated IDR1.3 trillion (US$90 million) in the 2018 Jakarta budget, apparently due to a lack of progress on the construction and their inability to get the building completed before the end of the year.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/demonstrators-e-jakarta-demand-gov-anies-keep-campaign-promise-not-evict/

Religious teachers in Jakarta to receive additional salary

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Jakarta – The Jakarta administration has issued a regulation that will allow religious teachers to receive an additional monthly salary of Rp 1 million (US$67).

The new regulation is stipulated under Gubernatorial Regulation No. 84/2018, and it applies to all teachers with civil servant status that teach at all levels, from kindergarten to senior high school.

Jakarta Education Agency head Bowo Irianto said the money would come from the city's grant fund.

The regulation was signed by Governor Anies Baswedan on Aug. 15 and was passed into law on Aug. 24. However, Bowo said the additional salaries had been given since January through the Indonesian Teachers Union (PGRI). The grants, he added, had also been channeled to contract teachers at private schools.

"It has been disbursed for five months from January to May before the Idul Fitri holiday," Bowo said as quoted by tempo.co on Tuesday.

There are 3,023 religious teachers in Jakarta entitled to receiving the grant. The teachers have to have been active for at least two years to be able to receive the grants. They are also required to undergo a selection process held by the Religious Affairs Ministry.

The additional salary will be cut Rp 25,000 per day of absence, while teachers who are absent for a month will be exempt from receiving it during the corresponding period. (fac)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/04/religious-teachers-in-jakarta-to-receive-additional-salary.html

Police & law enforcement

Police officer arrested after video of him smoking meth in dealer's

Coconuts Jakarta - September 5, 2018

It has not been a good PR week for the police force in Indonesia. Following the arrest of two officers who allegedly beat their junior to death as well as a viral video of a cop behaving badly at a toll gate, the police face another scandal after an officer in Medan was recorded smoking shabu (meth) while at a drug dealer's home.

The video, showing a Medan Police officer, identified by his initials TP, smoking the narcotics in a dingy home while still in uniform, quickly went viral and police investigators said that TP admitted that he is the person in the clip upon questioning.

"Adjunct Police Inspector TP admitted to taking drugs at a drug dealers' house," said Medan Internal Affairs head Arifin today as quoted by Detik.

Arifin said police did a raid on the house in the video and said that the man and woman who owned the house were also arrested on narcotics charges. Additionally, TP tested positive for meth and a meth pipe was found at his house.

Police have not yet announced what charges TP will face but under Indonesia's draconian drug laws dealers can face up to life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/police-officer-medan-arrested-video-smoking-meth-dealers-house-goes-viral/

Free trade & neoliberalism

'Secure, open and inclusive': Indo-Australia trade deal to cover

Sydney Morning Herald - September 1, 2018

James Massola, Jakarta – Ninety-nine per cent of Australian exports to Indonesia will now be able to enter tax free, or will receive preferential treatment, under the free trade deal struck by the two countries.

And everything Indonesia exports to Australia will enter without being subject to tariffs or taxes, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison says will reduce costs for Australian business, and grow Indonesian exports.

It was not immediately clear what goods or services have been excluded from the agreement.

Mr Morrison also suggested the Australian government would look at making greater use of technology to make it easier and simpler for Indonesians to get a visitor visa to come to Australia for a holiday.

He also flagged that the Australian government would sign a new security declaration at the Pacific Island Forum next week, but he would not be drawn on what the agreement would contain.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, who also addressed the Saturday business breakfast attended by Mr Morrison, highlighted the fact that Australian universities would now be able to open up campuses in his country.

He said his country of 260 million people needed greater access to education and "that's why we invite Australian universities to operate in Indonesia".

Australia's economic and trade relationship with Indonesia lags behind much smaller nations in the region including New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia, despite our northern neighbour representing a huge potential market.

Addressing the breakfast guests in Jakarta in his first major speech in a foreign capital since becoming Prime Minister, Mr Morrison again stressed the importance of the Indo-Pacific region remaining "secure, prosperous, open and inclusive" – a thinly-veiled reference to China's increasingly assertive posturing in the region.

To that end, he said Australia would deepen its cooperation with key regional partners including Indonesia, India and Japan.

At the conclusion of his first, brief trip overseas Mr Morrison said the trade deal would "create jobs and it will create wealth for both countries" across agriculture, manufacturing, services and investment sectors of the economy.

He later added at a press conference that for key imports that come to Australian from Indonesia, "particularly petroleum and furniture and things like that – wood, even footwear – these are things that will no longer have these tariffs on them".

Asked whether Australia would in the future look to cut red tape to make it easier for Indonesian to obtain a visitor visa to holiday – the current application process is time consuming, costs $140, and asks applicants whether they have committed genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, slavery among a host of other questions – Mr Morrison was receptive to the idea.

"The short answer to that is yes. But our comprehensive visa system is one of the most important elements of why we have such a successful immigration program," he said.

"There are matters that have been brought forward to me which further enhances the technology that is available to us to make sure that our visa system ticks all the right boxes, but can tick boxes in a way using the technology that is available to us today."

Mr Morrison cited the Australian company Bluescope as an example of how the trade deal would help business.

"Once this agreement is ratified, the raw materials Bluescope Indonesia needs from Australia to produce its high-quality steel will be more affordable and supply will be more reliable.

That means Bluescope's manufacturing facilities in Indonesia, and other Indonesian steel manufacturers, will be better able to supply markets across the region.

Farming groups have hailed the deal as a major win, as it will clear the way for the export of more Australian produce, as has the tertiary and vocational education sectors – which will be able to set up operations much more easily, while maintaining majority ownership.

"This agreement isn't only about the goods and services that we buy and sell. Importantly, it will give Australian investors greater certainty in Indonesia and promote more two-way investment," Mr Morrison said.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/secure-open-and-inclusive-indo-australia-trade-deal-to-cover-almost-everything-20180901-p5016l.html

Foreign affairs & trade

Government to increase import tax for 1,147 consumer goods

Jakarta Post - September 6, 2018

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – The government announced on Wednesday a new finance regulation that would impose a higher tax on 1,147 imported consumer goods that were deemed non-essential or had domestic equivalents.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said in Jakarta on Wednesday that the regulation aimed to control imports of consumer goods that had little impact on productive business activities.

The new regulation, which is to replace Ministerial Regulation No. 34/2017 next week, imposes an import tax of 10 percent from the previous from 2.5 percent on imported personal care products like shampoo, soap and cosmetics, along with 215 other consumer goods.

The regulation also raises the import tax from 7.5 to 10 percent for 210 goods, including luxury items like supercars. Import tax of 7.5 percent, a hike from the current 2.5 percent, is to be imposed on 719 other imported goods and products, including audio speakers and swimwear.

Meanwhile, the new regulation maintains a tax of 2.5 percent for 57 imported goods deemed essential to supporting domestic industries.

The ministry's customs and excise directorate general recorded a 16.46 percent year-on-year (yoy) increase to $15.77 billion in consumer goods imports for August.

The government's move to curb imports is part of a concerted effort to reduce the swollen current account deficit, which has been deemed one of the major triggers of the negative market sentiment that has contributed to the steep rupiah depreciation. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/06/government-to-increase-import-tax-for-1147-consumer-goods.html

Indonesian steel products get tariff exemption from US

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2018

Jakarta – The United States has made the decision to exempt 19 Indonesian steel products, namely carbon and alloy and stainless steels, from its 25 percent tariffs, Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has said.

The US government's decision was made on Aug. 2, said Enggartiasto, claiming that it came as a result of an Indonesian mission to Washington from July 23 to 27.

Led by the minister himself, the mission included a meeting on trade issues with US Trade Minister Wilbur Ross.

"Apart from trying to convince the US government, we also sought support from business communities, particularly from the importers of the Indonesian steel products," Enggartiasto said in a statement received on Monday.

He said the mission was to convince the US government that Indonesia still deserved to be part of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).

"We were trying to convince the US government that Indonesia still deserves to be part of the GSP because the characteristics of Indonesian products were different from those produced in the US," he added

Trade Ministry international trade director general Oke Nurman said 12 Indonesian steel products with a total volume of 336,688 tons annually were still seeking exemption from the US.

He said the Indonesian government would continue to communicate with the US. "Direct contact with trade partners like the US is important, particularly amid the ongoing trade war," he added. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/indonesian-steel-products-get-tariff-exemption-from-us.html

Tourism & hospitality

Number of foreign tourists increases 16.57 percent in July

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2018

Jakarta – Indonesia saw a 16.57 percent month-to-month increase in the number of foreign tourists to 1.53 million in July from 1.31 million in June, or a 12.10 percent year-on-year increase from 1.37 million in July last year, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) announced on Monday.

The airports that recorded the greatest increases in foreign tourist arrivals are Sam Ratulangi Airport in North Sulawesi (62.01 percent), Sultan Iskandar Muda Airport in Aceh (43.54 percent) and Minangkabau Airport in West Sumatra (22.66 percent).

Kualanamu Airport in North Sumatra recorded a 5.03 percent increase in foreign tourist arrivals.

From January to July, the country welcomed a total of 9.06 million foreign tourists – a 12.92 percent year-on-year increase from 8.03 million recorded in the same period last year. The government has targeted 17 million foreign tourist arrivals this year.

BPS head Suhariyanto said the surge in foreign tourists in July could not be directly linked to the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2.

"We have yet to determine that the Games contributed to the latest surge [in foreign tourists] since the statistics in July obviously precedes the sporting event, which commenced the following month," he told a press conference. (rfa/bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/number-of-foreign-tourists-increases-16-57-percent-in-july.html

Mining & energy

Government postpones 15,200 MW power projects

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Jakarta – The government has decided to postpone its plan to construct 15,200 megawatt (MW) electricity projects due to the rupiah weakening against the US dollar and the government's policy to reduce imports.

On Tuesday, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan said electricity was one of the strategic government projects that would be rescheduled, while the government was now encouraging contractors to increase local content.

He added that the import limitation would also apply to the mining, oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. "The objective is to control imports. We will focus on using domestic products," said Jonan.

The local content of electricity projects ranged between 20 and 40 percent and therefore the majority of the electricity components should be imported, he said, adding that to reduce the import burden, the government decided to slow down the 35,000 MW electricity program.

He explained that the projects that had not reached financial closure, and whose investment value reached between US$24 billion and $25 billion, would be postponed.

Jonan said the postponement would save between $8 billion and $10 billion in imports. "Initially, the projects were targeted to be completed in 2019. With this policy, the projects will be postponed to between 2021 and 2026," he added, saying that the projects were not canceled.

He claimed the electrification program was not affected by the postponement as currently it stood at 97.3 percent and by the end of this year, it would reach 97.5 percent and 99 percent in 2019. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/govt-postpones-15200-mw-power-projects.html

Freeport gets permit extension as divestment process incomplete

Jakarta Post - September 4, 2018

Jakarta – Gold and copper mining company PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) has been given a one-month special mining permit (IUPK) extension, which is required for the company to import its copper concentrates.

Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry mineral business supervision director Bambang Susigit said in Jakarta on Monday that the extension for PTFI, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan Inc (FCX), was signed by Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan on Aug. 31.

"[The IUPK] is extended for another 30 days," Bambang said at a hearing with the House of Representatives Commission VII on energy affairs, adding that the extension was outlined in a 2018 ministerial decision.

PTFI received its first temporary IUPK in February 2017. It expired eight months later. The government then extended the IUPK for a second time until December 2017. Its third extension expired on July 4. Since then, the permit has been extended on a monthly basis.

The government, represented by state-owned mining holding company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), signed a heads of agreement with Freeport-McMoRan last month. Under the agreement, the government will get a majority stake in PTFI for US$3.85 billion. The divestment of Freeport's shares have not reached a final agreement.

State-Owned Enterprises Ministry strategic industry and media affairs undersecretary Fajar Harry Sampurno said the negotiations on the divestment of 51 percent shares of PTFI were expected to be completed this month.

"On the divestment, there are several issues that should be resolved. The agreement is expected to be completed this September," he added as quoted by kontan.co.id. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/04/freeport-gets-permit-extension-as-divestment-process-incomplete.html

Economy & investment

Consumer confidence retreats 4.7% in August

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2018

Jakarta – A Danareksa Research Institute (DRI) survey shows that the consumer confidence index (CCI) in August has retreated from 101.6 to 97.5 following a 4.7 percent increase in the previous survey, with consumers responding more negatively on the current economic conditions.

The two main factors that caused the CCI to decline were the present situation index (PSI) – consumer sentiment toward current conditions – and the expectations index (EI) – consumer sentiment toward the future.

The CCI retreated 5.5 percent to 81.0, reflecting deteriorating sentiment toward the current economy and the job market, while the EI decreased 3.3 percent to 109.9, reflecting less optimistic consumer outlook on the economy and the job market in the next six months.

"With consumers less upbeat on the national economic outlook, purchase intention for durable goods declined in August," the DRI survey report said. Consumer confidence in the government had also weakened in its August survey, after increasing 2.9 percent in the July survey.

In its latest survey, the DRI found 41.13 percent of consumers expressed a plan to purchase durable goods in the next six months, down from 41.36 percent the previous month.

Meanwhile, the consumer confidence in the government index (CCGI) declined 3.3 percent to 105.1 in August, on the back of a decline in all CCGI components.

Four CCGI components still rated above the neutral level of 100, however, indicating that consumers had general confidence in the government, it said. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/consumer-confidence-retreats-4-7-in-august.html

Banking & finance

Rupiah weakens, Sandiaga asks millennials not to go abroad

Tempo - September 6, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Sandiaga Uno, a vice presidential candidate of presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto urged millennials generation (those who were born between 1980s and 2000s) to not travel abroad. His statement came following the weakening of the rupiah exchange rate.

"For millennials, don't go abroad at this time. Sorry to say, you guys millennials like to travel, for the sake of the country just focus on tourism here," said Sandiaga on Wednesday (September 5).

The rupiah exchange rate against the US dollar is at the level of Rp 15,029. Sandiaga urged businessmen to convert their deposit from US dollars into rupiah as he did. According to him, now is the time to hand in hand defending the country.

"There are many speculators, don't let us to be fooled" Sandiaga added.

Earlier, Sandiaga has also reminded the government to focus on dealing with this problem and not on spending more time in politics. He noted that the government must be aware of the weakening of the exchange rate, especially the price of basic needs of the community.

He also expressed concern over the weakening of the rupiah exchange rate, which will affect the company's production costs, leading to the potential for termination of employment or layoffs. For this reason, the former deputy governor of Jakarta called on the government to sit together with the businesses in addressing this phenomenon.

Sandiaga Uno reminded the government to start tightening belts and delay imports that were not needed. He said postpone dollar-based expenditures, delay the import of unnecessary goods, and encourage the use of local product must be done.

Meanwhile, Bank Indonesia (BI) has spent Rp11.9 trillion on easing the pressure on the rupiah by meddling in the secondary market and buying back state securities (SBN) from foreign investors. The buyback operation involved Rp3 trillion on Thursday (Aug 30), Rp4.1 trillion on Friday (Aug 31), Rp3 trillion on Monday (Sept 3), and Rp1.8 trillion on Tuesday (Sept 4).

"We bought back SBN on Thursday and Friday last week and Monday and Tuesday this week," BI Governor Perry Warjiyo said at a meeting with the House of Representatives (DPR) Commission XI on Wednesday.

The operation is part of BI's dual intervention, in which the central bank meddled in the SBN market when the rupiah's exchange rate was far from its fundamental level, he noted. BI also intervened in the foreign currency market to ensure that the supply of foreign currencies is adequate, he added.

"We are currently focusing on stabilizing (the rupiah)," he remarked.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/06/055921400/Rupiah-Weakens-Sandiaga-Asks-Millennials-Not-to-Go-Abroad

Kalla urges public not to splash cash on Ferraris and Hermes bags

Coconuts Jakarta - September 5, 2018

This is not the time to live ostentatiously, according to Indonesian Vice President Jusuf "JK" Kalla's statements regarding the rupiah's dramatic slide against the US dollar.

Speaking to the media yesterday, JK said he hopes the public will refrain from purchasing imported luxury goods and focus on saving amid troubling times for Indonesia's currency.

"There's no need for Ferraris, Lamborghinis to be imported into the country. There's no need for big, fancy cars and expensive perfumes. Hermes bags. Even though they don't contribute that much, don't buy luxury goods like those during this difficult situation," he said, as quoted by Liputan 6.

Though a decrease in imported luxury goods alone probably won't fix the rupiah, JK said he hopes that the public will do their part, however small, to contribute to the stabilization of the currency.

The rupiah on Monday fell to IDR14,777 to the US dollar, its weakest level in 20 years and a 8.93 percent drop since the start of the year. This morning, the rupiah fell even further to IDR14.953 per US dollar according to currency converter website xe.com.

Luxury goods aside, the Indonesia Retail Association (Aprindo) warned that the rupiah's slide will likely drive up prices for imported staple goods such as rice, sugar, beef, milk, as well as electronic goods.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/vp-jusuf-kalla-urges-public-not-splash-cash-ferraris-hermes-bags-due-sliding-rupiah/

Some large banks sell $1 above Rp 15,000 on Wednesday

Jakarta Post - September 5, 2018

Jakarta – Large banks sold US$1 at more than Rp 15,000 on Wednesday as external pressure against the currency continues even though Bank Indonesia (BI) had intervened in the market.

Kontan.co.id reports that CIMG Niaga sold $1 dollar at Rp 15,150 on Wednesday, while state-owned lender PT Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) sold $1 at 14,939, the lowest selling dollar rate among the large banks.

According to the Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR), the rupiah exchange rate stood at Rp 14,927 per United States dollar on Wednesday, compared to Rp 14,840.00 per US dollar on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) dropped by 4.4 percent to 5,645 at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, compared to its position in the previous day.

Financial Services Authority (OJK) spokesman Sekar Putij Djarot said the authority intensified its monitoring of the foreign exchange transactions as such activities could further worsen the rupiah exchange rate.

"The OJK is intensifying the supervision in all activities of the financial service sector, including the transaction of foreign exchange," Sekar said, adding that the supervisory intensification was needed to assure that the value of foreign exchange transaction so each corporation would not exceed the amount what it needed.

Previously, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said the government would punish anyone who tried to stockpile US dollars.

BI Governor Perry Warjiyo announced on Wednesday that since last Thursday up to Monday, the central bank had spent Rp 11.9 trillion to intervene in the market.

He previously said that with the current exchange rate, the rupiah was no longer at its fundamental value. (acr/bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/05/some-large-banks-sell-1-above-rp-15000-on-wednesday.html

Prabowo: State debts gradually increase Rp 1 tn per day

Tempo - September 1, 2018

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – Gerindra patron chief Prabowo Subianto has again criticized the government's effort in managing the state debt. He said the country's debt gradually increased each day.

"Our debt continuously increases by Rp1 trillion every day," said Prabowo during a book review event at Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel, South Jakarta, on Saturday, September 1.

The statement sparked various comments from the audiences. "Who's going to pay [the debt], Sir?" shouted a visitor. Another person lauded, "So, [let's] change the president."

According to Prabowo, the hike on the debt rose the inequality issue between the rich and the poor. If this phenomenon could not be further enhanced, he added, Indonesia would experience bankrupt.

"The economic growth is not developed, Indonesia faces a threat of being poor country forever. Yes, it is true that a lot of rich people in the country. The top 40 richest people in Indonesia have 584,000 times of wealth than the average wealth of Indonesians," said the future president candidate.

Prabowo Subianto gave a speech as a keynote speaker at the event that presenting 24 speakers. Attending the event were professors, scholars, lecturers, teachers, and observers to discuss a book written by Prabowo Subianto entitled 'Paradoks Indonesia' (Paradox of Indonesia).

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/01/055921277/Prabowo-State-Debts-Gradually-Increase-Rp1tn-per-Day

Analysis & opinion

Why a stronger Indonesia is still Asia's most fragile market

Reuters - September 6, 2018

Singapore – Notwithstanding solid economic growth, low inflation and a proactive central bank, Indonesia finds itself in the same uncomfortable position it had during the 2013 emerging markets sell-off – Asia's worst-hit market.

Five years ago, it was one of the "fragile five", alongside India, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa, hit by "taper-tantrum" triggered by U.S. policy tightening. This time, Jakarta has been battered by contagion from collapsing markets in two of those, Turkey and South Africa, plus Argentina.

Indonesia's current fragility comes from a mix of longstanding and new factors. It has long had huge amounts of foreign money invested in its high-yielding bond market. Now it does not have trade surpluses, and the current-account deficit has worryingly widened.

While India, Malaysia and the Philippines share some of Indonesia's domestic problems around foreign ownership of markets, their currencies are less accessible to speculators. Indonesia has had a basically free foreign exchange regime since the late 1960s.

The rupiah has shed nearly 9 percent this year, while India's rupee has had a double-digit fall, making them Asia's biggest losers against a broadly strong dollar. The Jakarta stock market is Asia's worst performer in 2018 after China, with losses of more than 10 percent.

Indonesia ran up a current account deficit of about $8 billion in the second quarter. In addition to fuel, the import bill was inflated by inflows of capital and consumer goods, which bore out the resilience of domestic demand and investment.

While the current account deficit is the rupiah's Achilles' heel and has grown since 2013, the current level is far smaller than those of other fragile emerging market peers. The country also has a history of volatile inflation and currency moves.

But the ability to fund that wide current account deficit is what is causing investors to worry. The government has imposed tariffs on consumer imports, tried to rein in capital goods imports and raised interest rates, all of which could have negative implications on now-shakier consumer demand and growth.

Foreigners own about 37 percent of the Indonesian government bond market and have pulled out very little this year, comforted by the commitment of new Bank Indonesia Governor Perry Warjiyo to be proactive and the 125 basis points of quick policy tightening since May.

The equity market has however seen outflows of $3.68 billion so far this year, compared with an exit of $2.96 billion in all of 2017.

Indonesia has less foreign debt, close to about 20 percent of GDP, than some of the more vulnerable emerging markets.

Still, if all the foreign money in its bond market were to leave, that would equal the loss of half of FX reserves, totalling $118 billion, leaving Indonesia and the rupiah in a precarious position.

[Writing by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by Richard Borsuk.]

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-markets-rupiah/why-a-stronger-indonesia-is-still-asias-most-fragile-market-idUSKCN1LM0ON

Jokowi's biggest challenge to re-election? A social media campaign

Channel News Asia - September 5, 2018

Dedi Dinarto, Singapore – The rising popularity of a social media campaign opposing Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's bid for re-election next year has met with backlash from Jokowi's supporters and the police. The campaign is known as #2019GantiPresiden or #2019ChangePresident.

The president's supporters, local police and the Regional National Intelligence Agency have thwarted recent events to promote the campaign in Pekanbaru and Surabaya. This has fueled accusations that state security agencies are not being impartial.

Such reactions from Jokowi's camp demonstrates a growing fear that the campaign might prevent the president from being re-elected next year.

Launched in March this year, the movement has been expanding and is poised to change the map of political support at the grassroots level ahead of the 2019 presidential election.

Given the circumstances, understanding the significance of #2019ChangePresident and its potential to be a a game-changer in the next presidential election is crucial.

Gaining support

Mardani Ali Sera, a politician from the opposition Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), initiated the #2019ChangePresident movement through a series of tweets in March 2018. His motive was to look for an alternative to Jokowi.

The movement was created to challenge the "Jokowi Dua Periode" (Jokowi for Two Terms) campaign declared by a voluntary group of Jokowi supporters. This group, which formed Jokowi's National Secretariat, had played a crucial role in building popular support for Jokowi in the 2014 presidential election.

The #2019ChangePresident campaign has gained support from other opposition parties, including Gerindra and Partai Amanat Nasional (PAN). It is obvious that the movement supports the candidacy of Gerindra's chairman, Prabowo Subianto, who will again compete with Jokowi for the presidency in 2019.

Besides support from political parties, the movement has also received financial backing from various sources – including Rp40 million (US$2,733) from singer-turned-politician Neno Warisman and financial contributions from other sympathisers.

Neno, who is also a PKS politician, has been a vocal voice behind the #2019ChangePresident campaign. She has been travelling throughout Indonesia to promote the campaign.

Attacking Jokowi

Activists behind the #2019ChangePresident campaign have launched well-organised and well-structured strategies to criticise Jokowi's administration.

They have used religious and economic issues to attack the president. For example, they have accused Jokowi of allowing the persecution of ulama (Muslim religious leaders) and discrimination against Muslims, and blamed him for the higher prices of staple food.

Another strategy involves music. Composer Johny Alang has created an anthem for the #2019ChangePresident movement, which has been promoted by politicians from opposition parties and is sung by sympathisers loudly at rallies.

Another strategy is the use of social media platforms to disseminate illustrations attacking the incumbent government's policies. At the same time, #2019ChangePresident supporters promote content designed to improve the popularity of Prabowo.

While the effectiveness of the #2019ChangePresident strategies is hard to calculate, a big data company Drone Emprit found that the movement has attracted more social media users than Jokowi's campaign.

#2019ChangePresident activists at national and local levels have been holding rallies in different parts of Indonesia.

The first rally was staged in Solo. In the following weeks, similar rallies were staged outside Java, including Medan, Makassar and Batam.

My latest finding shows the successful rally in Batam was a result of solid collaboration between #2019ChangePresident activists in Jakarta and a local cleric in Batam.

Due to strong partnerships between numerous politicians from Gerindra, PAN, PKS and local leaders, the movement enjoyed the same successes in Medan and Makassar.

Differing reactions from Jokowi's camp

Unlike the #2019ChangePresident movement, Jokowi's camp seems to be more passive.

Jokowi's National Secretariat announced a "#Jokowi2Periode" (#Jokowi2Terms) campaign in February 2018. But there has been no grassroots movement to champion the campaign.

Jokowi's campaign also lacks coordination and has not been as effective as #2019ChangePresident.

Adding to #Jokowi2Terms, Jokowi's camp has created numerous tags, including #2019TetapJokowi (#2019StillJokowi), #DiaSibukKerja (#HeIsBusyWorking) and #JokowiTetapPresiden2019 (#JokowiRemainsPresident2019) – demonstrating some level of inconsistency in spreading its political messages.

Jokowi's supporters also lack substantial political support from political parties. Golkar is the only political party that has created a volunteer-based support group for Jokowi's re-election bid, called Relawan Golkar-Jokowi (GoJo Volunteers).

Jokowi initially downplayed the #2019ChangePresident movement. He said in a fiery speech that such a smear campaign would not be enough to defeat him.

However, as the #2019ChangePresident movement expanded, Jokowi's camp started to organise counter-rallies to challenge their opponents.

With their own rallies, Jokowi supporters have managed to foil their opponents' campaign in several cities. Supporters at one in Pekanbaru ended up sending #2019ChangePresident activists, including Neno, on a plane back to Jakarta.

Other rallies resulted in clashes between Jokowi's supporters and their opponents. The recent clashes in Surabaya and Pekanbaru forced police to intervene and stop #2019ChangePresident events in several cities due to security concerns.

Jokowi's female supporters grouped in Emak-Emak Militan Jokowi (Jokowi's Militant Mothers) recently filed a lawsuit against the #2019ChangePresident movement, arguing that the campaign contains hate speech and therefore violates the Information and Electronic Transaction Law.

The different reactions to the #2019ChangePresident campaign from the Jokowi camp show how fragmented his supporters are and that they lack a comprehensive strategy.

Lessons for Jokowi's supporters

As rivalries between various groups heat up, Jokowi's supporters may need to cool down. Instead of engaging in violent protests to stop the opposition's campaign, they should consolidate their movement by building affiliations and establish a coalition of pro-Jokowi political parties to create a consistent public narrative.

For Jokowi, a more comprehensive strategy to counter-balance the influence of #2019ChangePresident will be important. Without such a strategy, the #2019ChangePresident movement may potentially sway enough voters to stop him from being re-elected.

[Dedi Dinarto is research associate with the Indonesia Programme at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Nanyang Technological University. This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.]

Source: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/commentary/jokowi-indonesia-presidential-election-2019-social-media-10682912

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