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Indonesia News Digest 35 – September 17-25, 2018

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West Papua

A new indie film festival features struggles and triumphs of indigenous

Global Voices - September 25, 2018

Papuan Voices, a video advocacy organization, has organized two independent film festivals since 2017 to celebrate the lives and struggles of indigenous Papuans in the southeastern province of Indonesia.

In 2015, Global Voices first featured Papuan Voices as a project with EngageMedia, and during the same year, Papuan Voices established itself as an independent organization with a presence now in six Papuan regions.

As the country's most resource-rich but cash-poor area, a recent influx of Indonesians from other regions has displaced many indigenous Papuans. Some Papuans decry it as an illegal occupation and demand their independence from Indonesia.

Within this context, as the first film festival held in Papua, it aimed: "to highlight the issues of the indigenous people of Papua through documentary films as well as to build public awareness of the important issues impacting them."

Nearly 30 films were submitted, 50 people participated in the pre-festival production workshops, and 10 films were produced through youth-focused workshops.

Inspired by its inaugural success, the organization held a second film festival last August 2018 with over 1,000 audience members. A total of 19 films from different areas in Papua were submitted.

Mecky Yeimo, a film festival participant, said that the films provided a lot of information about the land disputes between indigenous Papuan landowners and investors acquiring local lands for mining and palm plantations.

Franky Samperante, the director of Pusaka, an indigenous Indonesian non-governmental organization, noted the importance of the film festival:

In Papua, there are very limited options to obtain information by ordinary people because information is controlled by certain dominant groups. The information in these films will be very useful for many people at the local, national and international levels.

Many of the films featured during both festivals depict the everyday struggles of Papuans.

For example, the 2017 Best Film award winner 'Monce Truck' is a documentary directed by Imanuel Hindom about a former truck driver for a palm oil plantation in Keerom Regency who found a way to help Papuan women sellers ("Mama-mama" in Papuan) find a new source of income by transporting their vegetables to new markets in the capital city of Jayapura:

'The Caretaker of Isio Hill Forest' is another inspiring short documentary which narrates the story of Alex Waisimon who turned a lush forest in Papua into a famous bird-watching spot for tourists. The film was directed by Asrida Elisabeth, Harun Rumbarar, Bernad Koten, Yosef Levi.

Since 2011, both Papuan Voices and EngageMedia have trained more than 50 filmmakers and produced approximately 100 films which were screened in more than 50 locations in and out of Indonesia.

Source: https://globalvoices.org/2018/09/25/a-new-indie-film-festival-features-the-struggles-and-triumphs-of-indigenous-papua-indonesia/

Globe trotter blunders into Indonesia-Papua conflict

Associated Press - September 24, 2018

Stephen Wright, Jakarta – To the Indonesian government, the 39-year-old factory worker and globe-trotting Polish traveler is a danger to the state, a man who plotted with shadowy gunmen to foment revolt in isolated eastern jungles.

But to his supporters, Jakub Skrzypski is just an idealistic tourist with no money to his name, a man with an oddball combination of sympathies for right-wing and liberation causes. Even Indonesian police say it's unlikely Skrzypski could have arranged the arms deal they say he promised to make with rebels.

But Skrzypski, who is charged with treason, still faces up to 20 years in prison if he's found guilty. His detention was extended by 40 days on Sept. 17 as police prepare their case against him.

He was arrested in Wamena in Papua province in late August along with four Papuans who police said had ammunition and described as linked to "armed criminal groups" – the authorities' usual description of Papuan independence fighters.

"The true jungle is in Papua, and I've been there, among lizards, mosquitoes, leeches" and other stuff, Skrzypski wrote on Facebook while on the second of back-to-back trips to the region in July and August.

The case highlights Indonesia's extreme sensitivity about the low-level but long-running insurgency in the Papua region, which occupies the western half of the island of New Guinea. Though most nations recognize Indonesia's sovereignty over the territory, the Papuan independence movement has vocal sympathizers in numerous Pacific island and Western countries.

Indonesia annexed the Dutch-controlled half of the island in 1963 when the Netherlands was preparing indigenous Papuans for self-rule. Decades later, though, large areas of the mountainous jungle territory still remain outside of Jakarta's control. Police and military personnel are frequently attacked and killed by rebels, while Indonesian security forces have been accused of dozens of unlawful killings in the past decade, including targeted slayings of political activists.

Police say Skrzypski had been in contact for a "long time" with Papuan independence supporters and separatist fighters. They say he planned to publicize their cause on social media and promised to help supply them with weapons.

"We have strong evidence that he was guilty in helping the armed criminal group in Papua," said the province's police chief, Martuani Sormin. "No one should disturb the integrity of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia, whether he is a foreigner or local. Anyone who violates the law in this country must be dealt with."

But evidence of an actual plot against the Indonesian state appears flimsy.

Photos police cited of Skrzypski with guns were taken at a recreational shooting range in Switzerland, where he has lived since 2008, said his Indonesian lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar, and a Polish friend, Artur Sobiela. Siregar said Skrzypski denies any wrongdoing. The case against him is "very weak," she said.

Civil society organizations have also protested his arrest and the arrest several days later of a 29-year-old Papuan student, Simon Magal, who met Skrzypski and communicated with him on Facebook.

"While Mr. Skrzypski's choices may have been irresponsible and regrettable, his circumstances appear those of an idealistic and naive traveler and not one of a criminal," the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network and London-based rights group Tapol said in a joint statement.

They said Magal's arrest was excessive and he'd "simply been dragged in by the actions of Mr. Skrzypski."

National police spokesman Dedi Prasetyo said Skrzypski had unfettered access to an "armed criminal group" in Papua that had designated a liaison to meet and escort him on his trips to the region.

Skrzypski encouraged the group to fight against the Indonesian government and also promised weapons, but even Prasetyo acknowledged it was "very unlikely" he could do that. "We consider this case to be quite serious because it involves a foreign national," he said.

Two friends said Skrzypski, a long-term resident of Switzerland, where he moved for economic opportunities, is an avid traveler who's fascinated by other cultures. In one online profile, he lists about 50 countries he's visited.

Skrzypski's Facebook page indicates he supports right-wing European nationalist movements and is also interested in ethnic groups that have faced state persecution or genocide, including Armenians and Kurds.

In 2017, he traveled to both Armenia and the Kurdish-controlled area of Iraq. On Facebook, he follows some high-profile figures in the Papuan independence movement. Rafal Szymborski, who describes himself as the coordinator of the Free West Papua Campaign in Poland, has protested his arrest online. Szymborski didn't respond to emailed questions.

Some of Skrzypski's postings indicate a sympathetic interest in Julius Evola, an Italian fascist philosopher who decades after his death remains an influence on neo-fascists.

He supported a "sovereign money" movement to dismantle the Swiss banking system that was defeated in a referendum this year, and also posted photos of himself wearing an ultra-nationalistic "Defend Helvetia" T-shirt that superimposes an automatic rifle over a map of Switzerland.

Artur Sobiela, a friend from Skrzypski's hometown of Olsztyn in Poland's northeast, said Skrzypski had traveled to Indonesia numerous times and has many friends there but "isn't on any side of Indonesian-Papua conflict."

He said it was "nonsense" that Skrzypski was plotting to undermine the Indonesian state. "He hasn't any money for supporting any political groups in any region in the world," said Sobiela, who has known Skrzypski for nearly two decades.

"He's working all year in Switzerland as a regular worker in a factory near Lausanne and saved part of his salary for traveling," Sobiela said. "In Switzerland, he hasn't house, car and other property. His only property are books, music records."

[Associated Press writers Niniek Karmini in Jakarta and Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, contributed to this report.]

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/polish-globe-trotter-blunders-into-indonesia-papua-conflict/2018/09/24/552e663e-c05f-11e8-9f4f-a1b7af255aa5_story.html

Mass arrests in Jayapura during ULMWP actions supporting Vanuatu UN bid

Tabloid JUBI - September 24, 2018

Benny Mawel, Jayapura – Students from several tertiary institutions in the Papuan provincial capital of Jayapura have been holding actions to support efforts by Vanuatu and other Pacific countries to take the Papuan issue before the 72rd Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in late September.

Protest actions organised by the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP) on Monday September 24 ended in students being assaulted and arrested by police.

"One student, Petrus Kosamah was assaulted on the campus grounds", Papua ULMWP action committee secretary Crido Dogopia told Jubi in Abepura, Jayapura, on Monday September 24.

Dogopia said that Kosamah was assaulted when police forcibly broke up a free speech forum held by students on campus grounds at around 11am local time.

"Police broke up [the forum] but students resisted. Police forcibly dragged (demonstrators) into a crowd control (Dalmas) truck. It was then that he was assaulted", said Dogopia

Dogopia said that all the students involved in the free speech form were taken to the Jayapura municipal police station. There they joined protesters who had been arrested earlier at the Expo gathering point in front of the regional post office in Abepura.

Papua police chief Inspector General Martuani Sormin however denied that police officers assaulted demonstrators, saying that they just "secured" the protestors in order to bring them in for questioning.

"None of our officers behaved violently towards protesters, they only questioned them and tonight they'll be returned [home]", said Sormin on Monday evening.

According to Sormin, the protesters failed to inform police beforehand about the demonstration. "We don't require [protests] to have a permit, but there was no notification", he said.

Senior human rights lawyer Gustav Kawer said that arresting protesters on the ground that there was no prior notification is invalid. Law Number 9/1998 on Freedom of Expression does not stipulate that police have the authority to reject a notification of a demonstration.

"The police do this repeatedly. There is no [stipulation] in the law stating that police can reject [a notification]", he explained.

Kawer said that police are only authorised to issue a document stating that they have received the notification. They are then obliged to facilitate the protest until the demonstrations have conveyed their aspirations.

"The proper way is for police to escort them until the demonstrators have achieved their goal", he said.

Kawer added that he is shocked at how police violate laws which guarantee freedom of expression. Police instead see it as an issue of law enforcement. "Police frequently violate the law", he said.

According to Kawer, police are not actually aware that actions which they see as enforcing the law harms Indonesia because Indonesia then becomes the focus of world attention over freedom of expression.

"This approach attracts world attention. The international community questions how far Indonesia is open to free expression", he said. Because of this therefore, in the future the police must adhere to regulations, not interpret legislation.

The following is a chronology of the arrests which took place at three protest gathering points:

1. Expo Taxi Roundabout, Waena. At 8.30am local time protesters had arrived at the gathering point. Police meanwhile were already on alert.

At 9.22am the protesters began giving speeches. Police then approached the demonstrators and negotiated with them. The negotiations ended with the arrest of demonstrators. The protesters were ordered into a Dalmas truck and taken to the Jayapura municipal police station.

2. Jayapura Science and Technology University (USTJ) campus. At 10.30am local time students had gathered on campus grounds and were giving speeches.

At 11.45am, police entered the USTJ campus grounds and forcibly broke up the free speech action. But the students refused to disband and in the end police acted violently and the students were arrested and dragged into to Dalmas truck and taken to the Jayapura municipal police station.

3. Abepura, in front of the post office. At 11.10am, protesters had gathered on Jl. Biak in front of the Jayapura State Senor High-School 1. The protesters then marched on foot to the Abepura post office.

At 11.20am local time the protesters arrived at the post office and began giving speeches. At 11.30am police approached the demonstrators and closed down the free speech forum.

The following are the names of those arrested based on the gathering points:

1. Expo


3. Abepura

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Demo ULMWP; 67 mahasiswa ditangkap, satu dipukul polisi".]

Source: http://tabloidjubi.com/artikel-19741-demo-ulmwp-67-mahasiswa-ditangkap-satu-dipukul-polisi.html

Vanuatu steps up UN bid for West Papua rights, new referendum

Asia Pacific Report - September 20, 2018

Pacific Media Centre – West Papua has been sidestepped by both the Melanesian Spearhead Group and the Pacific Islands Forum. But, reports James Halpin of Asia Pacific Journalism, Vanuatu is undeterred as leading champion for the West Papuan cause and is pressing for United Nations support.

After the failure of the Pacific Islands Forum to move on the issue of West Papuan self-determination earlier this month, Vanuatu is now taking the issue to the United Nations next week.

Vanuatu raised the plight of political prisoners charged with treason at a UN working group of arbitrary detention and involuntary disappearances, reports RNZ.

Ninety three West Papuans have been arrested this month for their involvement in peaceful protests. Simply peacefully raising the Morning Star flag representing an independent West Papua risks 15 years' imprisonment.

Vanuatu has traditionally been the major supporter for West Papuan self-determination but has recently stepped up his diplomacy with the appointment of Lora Lini, daughter of the late founding prime minister Father Walter Lini, as special envoy for West Papua.

Port Vila wants West Papua to be added to the UN decolonisation list. Netherlands New Guinea had previously been on the UN decolonisation list but was annexed by Indonesia in 1969 in controversial circumstances.

The UN decolonisation list, or officially the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories, engages member states in charge of those territories to move towards granting self-determination.

Tokelau on list

Currently, Tokelau, which is a dependency of New Zealand, is on the decolonisation list.

Support from the Melanesian Spearhead Group bloc is divided with the Papua New Guinean government declaring this week it would not support Vanuatu, reports the PNG Post-Courier.

The Pacific Islands Forum has failed to bring change for the issue of self-determination and West Papua.

"I can't say there's been a huge amount of success," says Marie Leadbeater, spokesperson of West Papua Action Auckland and author of a recent book See No Evil: New Zealand's Betrayal of the People of West Papua.

Vanuatu brought a draft resolution for the UN to the Pacific Islands Forum in Nauru, reports the Vanuatu Daily Post.

The draft was labelled the "Realisation of the right of Papuan peoples' self-determination in the former colony of the Netherlands New Guinea (West New Guinea)".

However, the West Papua issue was not supported by other Pacific nations and was left off the outcomes document of the Forum, reports Asia Pacific Report.

Limited goals

The Forum has been a place to push for limited goals, such as fact-finding when it comes to West Papua. Leadbeater says New Zealand following Vanuatu's lead could be a "game changer", but it is not willing to challenge Indonesian sovereignty.

Similarly, on the recent issue of returning the Chagos archipelago to Mauritius, New Zealand did not support the case to be considered by the International Criminal Court.

Leadbeater is critical of the Ardern government not shifting policy towards West Papua self-determination, "realistically, so far they haven't."

At a meeting in Nauru as part of the Forum, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said New Zealand recognised Indonesian sovereignty over West Papua. Peters added that New Zealand would follow PNG's lead as its nearest neighbour, reports the Vanuatu Daily Post.

"I think as a Polynesian, or Melanesian or Pacific concept, the first person I'd be consulting on an issue like that is the nearest neighbour to the issue that might be a problem, namely PNG."

Support from NZ MPs

However, Leadbeater did identify a large number of NZ government MPs who would support West Papuan self-determination, including all of the Greens and high profile Labour MP Louisa Wall.

Associate Professor Stephen Hoadley of the University of Auckland says that since West Papua's integration into Indonesia in 1969, the cards have been stacked against them.

"You have to go back to 1963. The UN urged Indonesia to hold an act of free association. Indonesia allegedly manipulated the vote."

Indonesia claimed that Papuans were not advanced enough to deal with democracy and instituted a meeting of tribal elders. "They handpicked tribal leaders. This vote was contested by local folk who accused Indonesia of manipulation, bribes, and intimidation."

After the flawed vote, Indonesia instituted a policy of transmigration into West Papua where Javanese were moved from Java to colonise less populated provinces around Indonesia, including West Papua. This policy was ended by current president Joko Widodo in 2015.

However, discrimination against the indigenous Melanesians had become endemic. For example, the courts were stacked with Javanese judges and Javanese got favourable preference.

Little appetite for criticism

Because of examples such as this, an independence movement sprang up in 1963 called the Free Papua Movement. In the realm of international relations there was no appetite to criticise Indonesia in the 1960s.

Indonesia was sidelined during the cold war and US mining multinationals hadn't started drilling in the province yet, says Professor Hoadley. But, things haven't changed in the past 50 years.

Dr Hoadley says liberal Western countries such as the Australia, New Zealand, United States, and the United Kingdom are status quo powers. "If you redraw one boundary, then all boundaries are up for change. Better to leave things as they are."

A consensus among Western nations is that Indonesia has "things under control" and their transgressions against human rights in West Papua are not bad enough to consider attention, claims Dr Hoadley.

Success story

After the end of the Suharto regime in 1999, Indonesia was seen as a success story; a Muslim country that has adopted political parties, elections, and freedom of the press.

"The US thinking is that they're on a good track and we shouldn't criticise them too much," he says.

Ominously, nothing has come of the Rohingya genocide and there is no foreseeable future for West Papuan self-determination unless outside international influence or domestic upheaval forces Indonesia to start the process of decolonising.

[James Halpin is a student journalist on the Postgraduate Diploma in Communication Studies (Journalism) reporting on the Asia-Pacific Journalism course at AUT University.]

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/09/20/vanuatu-steps-up-un-bid-for-west-papua-rights-new-referendum/

Papuan vaccination shortfalls linked to government failure

Radio New Zealand International - September 20, 2018

A lack of vaccination in West Papuan communities has been linked to failures by Indonesia's health workers.

Recent Indonesian media reports say Papuan parents in regions such as Tolikara are refusing to let their children be immunised, fearing that measles-rubella and polio vaccinations will cause disabilities or illnesses.

But an anthropologist at Australia's Deakin University with extensive Papua experience, Eben Kirksey, said there was widespread awareness in Papua of the role of vaccines in protecting children. The problem, he said, was often that health workers weren't doing their job to immunise children in rural communities.

He said while in Papua in April he attended a community meeting in Tigi Barat district of Deiyai regency where 85 infants reportedly died of measles.

"All these people came together to make sense of this mass death that had happened the previous year, this involved again parents of the dead children, their extended family, church leaders, local government officials.

"They all told me their stories about their frustration in getting the government health service to do their job."

It had been over three years since this area had been covered by an immunisation programme. Families of children who died in the outbreak combined with others to run a concerted lobbying campaign at the local and provincial levels to try and get the immunisation campaign started.

"So at the point of my visit in April, it still hadn't happened," Dr Kirksey explained. "Measles is a very cheap vaccine, and the parents knew this. They'd started to do their homework after this epidemic and this outbreak. So they were basically just demanding that government roll out this programme."

The head of the Department of Health for Papua province, Aloysius Giyai, conveyed his frustrations with the local officials to Dr Kirksey.

"So in absense of these lower level officials, who were not implementing this province-wide programme, he (Giyai) has developed his own programme. It's called the Barefoot Doctor Programme," Dr Kirksey said.

"He's got a small team of medics that basically fly in to remote areas to deliver vaccines to respond to outbreaks... do the job that local officials were not doing."

He said bureaucratic complexities and lack of transportation infrastructure were factors hindering health workers from being getting to rural areas to immunise Papuan children.

He conceded that another factor was probably a widespread distrust of the Indonesian government among Papuans.

"And this isn't just because of deaths that are happening in the realm of health. So in just this one area that I've been talking about, Mee Pago, there have been twenty-nine extra-judicial killings by Indonesian security forces since the year 2000.

"So people have a widespread distrust. But I think in general, the people I've met in the past couple of years are really keen to get their kids protected from these diseases.

"I've seen quite the opposite of what's being reported in the media, that parents are very keen to get their kids vaccinated, and engaged in this long campaign of advocacy and activism, just trying to get government to do their job."

Indonesia's health officials have in the past few months intensified efforts to distribute measles, mumps and rubella vaccines in Papua's Asmat regency.

This was in response to a deadly measles outbreak in Asmat which reportedly killed 72 children. However measles is just one of a number of diseases that are contributing to Papua region's parlous infant mortality rate.

Mr Giyai and other health officials have been co-ordinating with counterparts in neighbouring Papua New Guinea to prevent the spread of polio, which there is currently an outbreak of in PNG, across the border.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/366928/papuan-vaccination-shortfalls-linked-to-government-failure

Indonesian police extend detention of Polish man accused of Papua rebel

Benar News - September 19, 2018

Victor Mambor and Tria Dianti Jayapura – A Polish national who was arrested last month on suspicion of helping separatist rebels in Indonesia's Papua province has denied that he took part in a conspiracy to overthrow the government, his attorney said Wednesday, as police extended his detention for 40 days for further investigation.

Police arrested and detained Jakub Fabian Skrzypski, 39, in Papua's Wamena regency on Aug. 26, accusing him of conspiracy to supply weapons to the rebels.

"He rejected all the accusations," Skrzypski's lawyer, Latifah Anum Siregar, told BenarNews. "He rejected the conspiracy charges." Latifah said her client had "never campaigned for the Papuan separatists nor did he support Papuan independence."

"He has never been involved in any military training and is not an arms dealer or any such thing. He has never owned weapons or ammunition," she added.

Skrzypski could face life or 20 years in prison, if found guilty, Latifah said, describing the accusations as "reckless." Latifah said she last met Skrzypski on Friday, and described her client as "depressed."

Papua is one of Indonesia's poorest regions despite its rich natural resources. It has been the scene of a low-level armed separatist conflict since the 1960s. Human rights groups have accused security forces of committing rights abuses during counter-insurgency operations.

Police have said that Skrzypski, despite being a foreigner, could be charged with involvement in a conspiracy to overthrow the government.

"We are still delving into the case," national police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said, adding that the Pole would eventually be tried in Papua.

Dedi said Skrzypski was not a journalist and had only posted stories about Papua on Facebook and other social media networks.

"He's just an ordinary tourist, but he communicated with the Violent Criminal Group and offered to supply weapons and ammunition, but that has not happened and chances of that happening are slim," Dedi said, using the law enforcement term for the rebel group.

"He also told stories about Papua to his compatriots back in Poland in the hope that they would go viral," he said.

Dedi said Skrzypski had received consular assistance from the Polish embassy in Jakarta. The embassy did not respond to an email sent by BenarNews.

Last week, the police spokesman told reporters that police seized hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a mobile phone and documents, which included information about the types of weapons and ammunition needed by the Free Papua Movement (OPM) rebel group.

Foreign journalists have been largely banned from reporting from Papua, with the government citing concerns for their security for the restrictions.

Other arrests

In a separate development, security forces in Papua's Mimika regency arrested eight people during a raid on the headquarters of a local pro-independence organization, the National Committee for West Papua (KNPB) on Saturday, police said.

The raid followed the arrest of a man who allegedly had 153 rounds of ammunition at the Mimika airport near the Freeport gold and copper mine, Dedi said. KNPB campaigns for a referendum on self-determination in Papua.

Police have also arrested a man named Simon Magal for communicating with Skrzypski through his mobile phone. The London-based human rights group, Tapol, said Magal was preparing to leave for Australia to start his post-graduate studies there.

"Arresting Simon on accusations of treason because he met Jakub and talked to him on Facebook is excessive," Tapol coordinator Adriana Sri Adhiati said. Adriana said the arrest of Skrzypski and Simon could undermine Indonesia's efforts to strengthen its democracy.

New military units planned for Papua

On Wednesday, Usman Hamid, Amnesty International's Indonesia director, told a parliamentary hearing that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo should make good on his promises to solve cases of human rights violations in Papua. These included the shootings of high-school students during a rally in Paniai regency in 2014, which killed four people.

According to Amnesty, at least 95 people were killed in 69 cases of extrajudicial killings in Papua in recent years, but only 25 cases were investigated.

"Our findings show that police and soldiers have used excessive force, used firearms and deployed excessive numbers of personnel, resulting in the death of 95 people," Usman told lawmakers.

Meanwhile earlier this month, Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) chief Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto told a parliamentary hearing that new military units would be established in the eastern parts of the country, including Papua.

The military is proposing 107 trillion rupiah (about U.S. $7.2 billion) for the 2019 budget, including 1.5 trillion rupiah to "create new organizations in the eastern regions, namely South Sulawesi, Sorong (West Papua province) and Papua," Tribunnews.com quoted the armed forces chief was quoted as saying.

He said the money would be used to build physical infrastructure, such as office buildings, housing for soldiers and harbors. In May, the military inaugurated four new units in Sorong.

Military officials in Jakarta could not be reached immediately for comment.

In Papua, a member of the province's representative council, Laurens Kadepa, rejected the military's plans. "The plan is not making sense. Many Papuans in the villages are still traumatized by the presence of the military," he said.

A Wamena resident, Peter John Jonga, told BenarNews that Papuans should have a say in the plans. "If there's a special unit, Papuans won't accept it because they feel that they will be watched more closely and lose their freedom," he said.

[Ahmad Syamsudin in Jakarta contributed to this report.]

Source: https://www.benarnews.org/english/news/indonesian/papua-polish-man-09192018145949.html

Police accused of killing Papuan fugitive

Jakarta Post - September 18, 2018

Nethy Dharma Somba, Jayapura – The Papua Police have denied allegations that they are responsible for the death of a Papuan fugitive who died shortly after his arrest.

Yudas Gebze, a resident of Wanam village in Merauke, had been charged with attacking Egenius Blamo Gebze on May 10 and had been on the run for three months before his arrest last Thursday.

A day later, Yudas was pronounced dead. His family alleged that the police had tortured him and were responsible for his death.

Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. A. M. Kamal told The Jakarta Post that the police had followed procedure when arresting Yudas. "The fugitive resisted arrest by pulling out a knife," he claimed.

He added that the officers then fired a warning shot but Yudas allegedly resisted and fell on broken glass before trying to flee.

Yudas was already injured when the officers arrested him, Kamal claimed, adding that he was then transferred to the Merauke Hospital, where he died hours later.

Nelson Yustus Gebze, a local figure in Wanam village, doubted the police's account, saying that it was impossible that Yudas had died because he had fallen on broken glass.

"That does not make any sense," he said as quoted by Jayapura-based news outlet tabloidjubi.com. He confirmed that Yudas had been accused of a crime but added that the police should have arrested him without incident. (sau/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/18/police-accused-of-killing-papuan-fugitive.html

Vanuatu questions West Papua arrests at UN meeting

Radio New Zealand International - September 17, 2018

Vanuatu has raised the issue of a West Papuan and a Polish citizen charged with treason in Indonesia at the United Nations.

In connection with Jakub Skrzypski's case, a 29-year old West Papuan student, Simon Magal, was arrested several days later in Timika.

Simon Magal and Jakub Skrzypski were arrested separately in August in Papua and police allege they were involved with an armed pro-independence group.

Vanuatu's representative to the UN, Noah Kouback, told a working group meeting on arbitrary detention and involuntary disappearances last week the charges were questionable.

"Vanuatu notes with concern raised the working group on indigenous populations failure to respond to its request for a visit, so we call on Indonesia to allow the UN special mechanism to... and to report on the systemic ongoing problem."

Mr Kouback said it is also concerning 93 West Papuans were arrested in the first week of September for their involvement in peaceful protests.

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/366627/vanuatu-questions-west-papua-arrests-at-un-meeting

Papua parents fear disabilities, illnesses from vaccines, refuse to have

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2018

Jakarta – The Karubaga community health center in Tolikara regency, Papua, has said many parents in the region have opposed the administration of measles-rubella (MR) and polio vaccinations for their children over fears the vaccines will cause disabilities or other illnesses.

"We can say about 40 percent of parents refused to allow their children to get vaccinated," said Herdika Pareang of the Karubaga community health center on Sunday, as quoted by Antara.

When the health officers asked the students about their reasons for refusing to be vaccinated, they said their parents were concerned about disabilities or other illnesses being caused by the vaccine, Herdika added.

Tolikara Health Agency's head of disease prevention and control Constan Jikwa said that his team had continued to disseminate information about the vaccines, including in Karubaga.

Constan said the parents' opposition might be caused by information they had heard about a child with epilepsy in another district who became disabled after receiving the vaccination.

"The [limited] understanding of parents and teachers in light of past events concerning a vaccine administered to a child with epilepsy in Kurulu district has caused many parents [in Karubaga] to refuse [the vaccinations]," said Constan.

The deputy principal of YPPGI Karubaga elementary school in Tolikara, Kristian Adi, said that 60 percent of students at the school had received the MR and polio vaccinations.

Many parents in several predominantly Muslim regions have reportedly refused to take part in the program, despite an edict from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) last month that the MR vaccine was mubah (permitted for Muslims) even though it contains porcine-derived gelatin.

The council has permitted Muslims to receive the vaccine until a halal alternative is made. The Health Ministry recorded that the nation's average vaccine coverage rate was only 47.37 percent. (sau/dmr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/17/parents-in-papua-fear-disabilities-illnesses-from-vaccines-refuse-to-have-children-immunized.html


Indonesia horror: Woman brutally caned in sharia punishment for having

The Express (UK) - September 20, 2018

Carly Read – The woman, who has not been not named, was barbarically punished as a crowd gathered and watched on in horror in Aceh, located north-west of Sumatra.

Pictures show the woman knelt on a public platform looking solemn in a white dress as her punisher, dressed in a black robe with just his eyes exposed, taunts her with a long bamboo-like stick before caning her with it.

In the background, civilians and guards look on as the Sharia law punishment is dealt out.

Indonesia is notorious for its public displays of brutality, along with other nations such as Malaysia, which has sparked outrage by human rights groups.

Earlier this month, two Malaysian women convicted of attempting lesbian sex in a car were lashed in public for the act, which is forbidden under Islamic law. Amnesty International said the caning marked "an appalling day" for human rights in Malaysia.

Rachel Chhoa-Howard, the group's Malaysia researcher, said: "To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback on the government's efforts to improve its human rights records."

This followed the horrific case of a transgender woman who was beaten to a bloody pulp by a group of assailants in Seremban, south of Kuala Lumpur in mid-August.

Activists have said the attack was part of a growing hostility towards gay and transgender people. But it is not just women who have been flogged in public for violating Islamic law.

Earlier in the year, Jono Simbolon, an Indonesian Christian was sentenced to 36 lashes with a rattan stick. The punishment was so brutal that a doctor checked his health after 10 strokes, before allowing the flogging to continue.

He had been arrested in Aceh for selling alcohol and was one of 10 people, including eight men and two women, convicted for the crime.

Aceh, located on Sumatra island, is 98 percent Muslim and enforces Islamic law known locally as Qanun.

Non-Muslims, who have committed offences that violate both – national and religious laws, can choose whether they want to face a criminal or religious punishment.

Aceh began implementing Sharia law after is was granted special autonomy in 2001, an act taken by the central government to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.

In August last year men and women found guilty of adultery in Aceh were brutally whipped up to 100 times in front of crowds of people and in May last year, a Sharia court sentenced two gay men to be caned 85 times each in public after they had been in found in bed together.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1020274/indonesia-news-sharia-punishment-aceh-woman-caned-public-affair-malaysia

Aceh governor finally allows measles-rubella vaccine program to resume

Coconuts Jakarta - September 20, 2018

The government's much-delayed measles-rubella (MR) vaccine drive now has the full backing of provincial administrations throughout the country – the last hold out being the ultra-conservative province of Aceh – though it remains to be seen if the backing of the regional governments will be able to overcome religious-based anti-vaccine paranoia.

In August, Aceh's acting governor, Nova Iriansyah (who took over the role after former governor Irwandi Yusuf was arrested on corruption charges in July) commanded that the MR vaccine program be delayed in the province due to fears that it contained pork byproducts, which would make it haram (forbidden) for consumption by Muslims.

Even after the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued a fatwa (religious edict) allowing the consumption of the vaccine due to a lack of a halal (permissible for consumption) alternative, Nova said that he would continue to delay the program until their own local Islamic clerical body, the Ulama Consultative Assembly of Aceh (MPU), issued a ruling on the MR vaccine.

After more than a month of delay, the Aceh administration, MPU and MUI finally all agreed yesterday that the MR vaccine drive had to resume due to the severe risks posed by the disease.

"It's like if we're in an emergency, we're starved and moments from death, even the carcass of a pig is permissible [to consume] until we're out of that emergency," MPU Chairman Muslim Ibrahim told reporters yesterday, as quoted by BBC Indonesia.

However, it doesn't look like the Aceh administration or the MPU will be doing any extra work to promote the MR vaccine.

"The MR vaccine drive will be resumed, but we will not force parents who don't want their children vaccinated. This is just for those parents who are willing," Aceh administration spokesperson Wiratmadinata said.

The announcement coincided with MUI chairman and President Joko Widodo's 2019 election running mate Ma'ruf Amin's visit to Aceh yesterday. On Tuesday, the Islamic scholar said the MR vaccine should be wajib (an Islamic term for something that is mandatory to perform/consume and sinful if neglected) for children in the country.

According to government officials, only 43 percent of the targeted 32 million children have been given the MR vaccine as of last week, far below the government's target of having 95 percent achieved by that point. Officials say health workers around Indonesia have even been threatened with physical violence by unwilling parents, some of whom carried machetes.

Doctors have warned that areas of the country like Aceh, which has only had 7% of children targeted by the latest vaccination drive immunized, could experience an "MR tsunami". The government is already warning that if the immunization program fails, the country could soon face an epidemic of the disease.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/aceh-governor-finally-allows-measles-rubella-vaccine-program-resume-haram-scare/

Pki & anti-communism

Former TNI chief challenges 'cowardly' military leadership to screen

CNN Indonesia - September 20, 2018

Jakarta – Former TNI (Armed Forces) chief Nurmantyo has challenged the current TNI commander Air Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Army chief-of-staff (KSAD) General Mulyono to again hold public screenings of the film about the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) coup on September 30, 1965, usually known as G30S/PKI.

According to Nurmantyo, if the KSAD does not have the courage to order his officers to hold joint film screenings (nobar) of the G30S/PKI film, then he questions whether they are capable of leading courageous and champion officers in Kostrad (the Army Strategic Reserves Command, Green Berets), Kopassus (Special Forces) and other army units.

"Why is the KSAD a coward. It's time for him to resign yes", wrote Nurmantyo on his personal Instagram account @nurmantyo_gatot on Thursday September 20.

Nurmantyo explained to CNN Indonesia that the posting was indeed a statement of his position.

Nurmantyo emphasised that the KSAD should know that there is no death sentence for not ordering joint screenings of the PKI film. He stated that the heaviest punishment would be to be for the KASD to be dismissed from his post, not losing his life.

Nurmantyo suggested that if the KSAD continues to be afraid, it would be better if he just returns to his home village. "If you're afraid, just return to your home town. Because I pity his officers who will be tarnished by a cowardly leader", asserted Nurmantyo.

The cowardly character associated with a KSAD who is afraid of issuing an order to hold joint film screenings, added Nurmantyo, will lower the dignity of army officers who are known throughout the world as being courageous and super determined.

"But I'm sure that the KSAD and the TNI commander are not the cowardly type. Let's just see what they do", concluded Nurmantyo.

Nurmantyo's statement, which he uploaded on his social media account, is based on a quote from an interview with the Rakyat Merdeka daily newspaper which was published on Wednesday September 20.

When he still held the post of TNI commander, Nurmantyo ordered all officers to hold joint public screenings of the film G30S/PKI throughout the country.

At the time, Nurmantyo said that rescreening the film was aimed at reminding the Indonesian nation about what happened on September 30, 1965 so that it would not occur again.

Nurmantyo said that the film screenings were not aimed at discrediting or blaming any one party but to provide a picture about the tragic affair which occurred in 1965.

Moreover, Nurmantyo insisted that the film screenings were not aimed at generating resentment or grudges between certain parties.


In September 1998, the government dropped the requirement for all TV stations to broadcast the film "Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI" (The Betrayal of the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party), a dramatisation of the New Order's version of the events surrounding the alleged communist coup in 1965. The film, one of the most effective pieces of propaganda produced by the Suharto dictatorship, had been a compulsory program for all stations every September 30 since its release in 1984.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Gatot: KSAD Pulang Kampung Saja Kalau Takut Gelar Nobar G30S".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180920190341-32-331869/gatot-ksad-pulang-kampung-saja-kalau-takut-gelar-nobar-g30s

Sexual & domestic violence

Indonesian incest rape victim, 15, could be sent back to jail for having

ABC News - September 24, 2018

Tasha Wibawa – An appeal against the acquittal of a 15-year-old rape victim who was charged with illegal abortion in Indonesia has been condemned by local activists, who say the move is a backward step for the protection of women.

A regional prosecution office launched the appeal, saying it wanted the case to serve as a lesson to others considering aborting a pregnancy, the Jakarta Post reported.

The girl – who fell pregnant after being raped by her brother – was sentenced to six months of juvenile detention by Muara Bulian District Court in July for illegally terminating her late pregnancy.

She served one month behind bars before the decision was overturned by a provincial high court on August 27.

The victim's 18-year-old brother pleaded guilty to the rape and was sentenced to two years imprisonment by the same high court.

Abortions in the case of rape are only legal within 40 days of conception in Indonesia, a timeframe activists say is unrealistic in determining pregnancy.

Zubaidah, a women's rights activist for the group Organisasi Beranda Perempuan, who is known only by her first name, said victims of rape often felt shame and social pressure which stopped them from seeking help.

"This case has been an example to show the weakness of the Indonesian constitution towards the protection of women," she said. Zubaidah said the appeal had already had a significant psychological impact on the victim.

"She is still in the process of building her self-confidence, adding the burden of a potential harsher sentence will only emphasise the sense of trauma on this young 15-year-old rape victim," she said.

'It shows we're going backwards'

Under Indonesian law, the punishment for seeking an illegal abortion is a maximum of four years, while performing or assisting in an illegal abortion is punishable by to up to 10 years imprisonment.

In 1992, an amendment to the abortion law was introduced to allow termination if the pregnancy endangers the life of the mother.

Amnesty International launched an appeal in support of the 15-year-old victim, and called for the decriminalisation of abortion in all circumstances.

"Denial of abortion services to women or girls who have become pregnant as a result of rape, sexual assault or incest is a violation of the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment," the human rights group said in a statement about the case.

Indonesian law also prohibits extramarital sexual contact. The 'zina' provision in Indonesian law currently prohibits adultery, and there are proposals to expand it to also ban sex between unmarried people.

The regulations will particularly affect victims of sexual abuse and rape, where victims will need to prove that it was not consensual. "It shows we're going backwards due to a lack of commitment to protect women especially those who are victims of rape," Ms Zubaidah said.

"These laws have been put forward without a consideration of the facts on the ground."

Discussing contraception deemed 'taboo' and 'inappropriate'

Zubaidah said teenagers who became pregnant after cases of incest or rape in Indonesia only had two options – abortion or marriage. "According to [Indonesian] traditions, the victim would have to wed because of the negative stigma among the community," she said.

Fifty-eight per cent of unmarried women who become pregnant in Indonesia choose to abort, according to a 2016 report by the University of Gadjah Mada's Centre of Population and Policies.

But the majority choose unsafe methods, despite the risks, due to the country's strict abortion laws, a United Nations report said.

But preventing unwanted pregnancy is difficult when most parents consider reproductive health and contraceptives to be a "taboo discussion" and "inappropriate" to discuss with their children.

"They think that discussing sexual education encourages children to have sexual relationships... [some even] question the importance of understanding reproductive health," she said.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) in Indonesia is working closely with Islamic leaders in the country to promote the use of contraception in family planning. Contraception is often perceived as unacceptable for Muslims.

The campaign holds training sessions on family planning, maternal and infant health directly from Muslim leaders, in collaboration with the country's National Population and Family Planning Board.

But Zubaidah argues that it is not enough. "The reality is that many people who are underprivileged, especially teenagers, don't have access to a clinic," she said, adding that the issue is more prevalent outside major cities.

"While the government is investing heavily in infrastructure, social services and cultural programs are still minimal, which hasn't made any significant improvements towards the education for girls and women."

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-24/prosecutors-appeal-decision-to-acquit-rape-victim-of-abortion/10280896

Prosecutors call for Jambi rape victim to be punished to deter abortion

Jakarta Post - September 18, 2018

Jon Afrizal, Jambi – The Muarabulian Prosecutor's Office has appealed the Jambi High Court's verdict to acquit a 15-year-old rape victim in Jambi of abortion, saying her punishment would serve as a "lesson".

Prosecutor Fajar Rudi Manurung said the girl, who has returned to school, was not only a rape victim but also a perpetrator of abortion, which is illegal in Indonesia.

"The baby had formed complete body parts. And she killed the baby. That's the aggravating factor," he said on Monday. He called on the public to wait for the Supreme Court's decision on the case, saying the court might have different considerations.

Save Our Sisters spokesman Zubaidah, meanwhile, said the 15-year-old girl could not be charged with abortion because she was a rape victim.

She said that the prosecutors should know that justice for rape victims involved being free from trauma. "What the prosecutors are doing is only worsening [the girl's] psychological condition."

The Jambi rape case has attracted national and even global attention, with critics saying that the rape victim should have never been prosecuted in the first place.

Indonesia bans abortion except for health reasons or for rape victims whose pregnancy is within 40 days of conception. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/18/prosecutors-call-for-jambi-rape-victim-to-be-punished-to-deter-abortion.html

Labour & migrant workers

Protestors threaten to rally for a month in South Jakarta

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Jakarta – Protestors staged a rally in front of the global security service company PT G4S office on Jl. Ciputat Raya, South Jakarta, on Monday, and threatened to continue demonstrating for a month until their demands were met.

In their demand for better industrial relations, the protesters, who claimed to represent more than 700 security guards employed by PT G4S, occupied part of the street, causing traffic to back up to as far as Ciputat, South Tangerang.

"We don't want to rally like this, disturbing people and the authorities. But this is PT G4S's own doing," their leader, Kardinal who also heads the Indonesian Metal Workers Federation's (FSPMI) Jakarta branch, said on Monday, kompas.com reported. "We will rally for a month until our demands are met."

He said most of the workers claimed they had been forced by the company to renew their contracts three times. "[After the third contract renewal] the company then moved them to G4S subsidiaries," said Kardinal.

He added that the striking workers did not receive additional benefits despite the companies that they were assigned to guard being billed tens of millions of rupiah.

Furthermore, the company also tried to break up the workers' union by firing one of its members unilaterally. "One of our leaders was fired arbitrarily, even though the Jakarta Manpower Agency has said that the process of firing someone must be fair," Kardinal said.

Jakarta Manpower Agency head of manpower monitoring Khadik Triyanto said the agency was mediating between PT G4S and its striking workers. "It's being handled by the South Jakarta Manpower Agency," Khadik said. (ami)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/24/protestors-threaten-to-rally-for-a-month-in-south-jakarta.html

Indonesian advocacy group condemns migrant workers being sold online in

Coconuts Jakarta - September 17, 2018

Migrant workers' rights activists in Indonesia are outraged about the country's domestic workers being auctioned off in a Singaporean online marketplace as if they were household goods.

Last Friday morning, a netizen in Singapore alerted the All Singapore Stuff Facebook page about a user on Carousell – a Singapore-based online marketplace – who had been putting up listings of various domestic helpers from Indonesia, complete with their faces exposed and their work experience degradingly simplified to "fresh" or "ex abroad" (having worked abroad before). Since the account was set up on Aug 15, the user even had some of the profiles indicated as "sold".

Migrant CARE, an advocacy group for Indonesian migrant workers, called for stern action against the seller.

"Migrant CARE strongly condemn this kind of exploitation which is like enslaving people. We demand that there be legal action against the culprit," Migrant CARE Executive Director Wahyu Susilo told reporters yesterday, as quoted by Detik.

Wahyu added that the demeaning listings are not the first of their kind to be advertised in Indonesia's closest neighboring countries.

"Selling the services of Indonesian migrant workers like they are commodities is actually nothing new, even if there have been protests against them. In Malaysia, there were massive ads on the streets of Kuala Lumpur which promoted 'Indonesian maids for sale'. In Singapore there were also migrant workers being offered by displaying them in shops. These are clearly not fair and degrading to the dignity of Indonesian migrant workers," he said.

Though it wasn't specifically mentioned by Migrant CARE, one of the most demeaning and outrageous ads involving Indonesian migrant workers in recent years was published by a robotics firm in Malaysia. The ad, promoting a robot vacuum cleaner, contained the copy "Fire your Indonesian maid" and replace them with the company's product.

Migrant CARE is urging the government to spread awareness about ethical hiring practices to prospective migrant workers from Indonesia so they don't end up in ads like the ones in Carousell.

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry says it is sending a diplomatic note to its counterpart in Singapore regarding the case.

The migrant workers listings page can no longer be found on Carousell as the online marketplace platform has since taken down the account. A Carousell spokesman told The Straits Times that the listings violated the platform's community guidelines – sharing of individual's personal biodata is strictly prohibited.

Currently, Carousell is assisting the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its investigations into the case. Acknowledging their awareness of the listings, MOM issued a strongly worded statement against employment agencies (EAs) that engage in such practices in a Facebook post.

MOM is aware of cases where foreign domestic workers (FDWs) are being marketed inappropriately on the online buying and... – Posted by Singapore Ministry of Manpower on Friday, September 14, 2018 Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-advocacy-group-condemns-migrant-workers-sold-online-singapore/

Political parties & elections

Indonesia: Presidential campaign season begins; analysts raise concern

Eurasia Review - September 25, 2018

Arie Firdaus (Benar News) – Campaigning for next year's presidential and parliamentary elections in Indonesia has begun, with analysts saying they expect smear tactics and vote-buying to mar the period leading to the 2019 vote.

The six-month campaign kicked off on Sunday with the two presidential candidates signing a pledge for a peaceful race and releasing white doves. Incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo faces former special forces commander Gen. Prabowo Subianto in the election scheduled for April 17. It is a repeat of 2014 electoral battle, when Jokowi narrowly defeated Prabowo. "God willing, it will be peaceful," Prabowo, 66, told reporters on Monday.

About 187 million Indonesians are eligible to vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections, which will be held simultaneously for the first time. With many voters undecided, analysts expect contestants and their supporters to employ smear tactics and buy votes.

"Money politics, fake news and hoaxes will still happen, especially during the later days of the campaign when they resort to whatever ammunition at their disposal," Wawan Mas'udi, a political analyst at Gajah Mada University, told Benar News.

Former Gen. Wiranto, the coordinating minister for politics and security, warned politicians against capitalizing on religious, ethnic and racial prejudices to attack opponents. "We have to avoid such things to maintain our unity as a nation," he said Monday.

A day after the campaign began, pollster Indonesia Survey Circle launched its survey results showing an increase in political intolerance over the past three years.

The national survey, which was carried out in August, involved 1,520 voters and focused on public perception of democracy, corruption and intolerance.

The survey showed 59 percent of Muslims objected to a non-Muslim becoming president. Non-Muslims, on the other hand, were more tolerant to the appointment of Muslim leaders, it said.

Presidential campaign

Jokowi has picked conservative cleric Ma'ruf Amin, 75, as his running mate, while Prabowo is teaming up with former Jakarta deputy governor and wealthy businessman Sandiaga Uno.

Analysts said Jokowi's choice of Ma'ruf is intended to fend off accusations by conservative Muslims that he is not Islamic enough. In 2014, he had to deal with a smear campaign accusing him of being an ethnic Chinese communist.

"This is a celebration of democracy," Jokowi said last week before the campaign began officially. "The most important thing is, we should not let the election divide us. It should not cause neighbors to stop talking to each other or make us feel that we are no longer brothers and sisters."

At least three recent polls show Jokowi favored by 52 percent to 53 percent of voters, while Prabowo was favored by 30 percent to 35 percent.

Parliamentary election

Sixteen political parties are contesting the parliamentary election to fill 575 seats in the House and 136 in the Senate. Almost 8,000 candidates will appear on ballots across the country.

Some analysts said newly established parties, such as the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) and the Working Party (Partai Berkarya), would find it difficult to see their candidates get elected.

The Working Party was founded by Tommy Suharto, the youngest son of former dictator Suharto, who served as president from 1967 to 1998. Tommy Suharto was sentenced to prison in 2002 on charges he ordered the killing of a judge who previously convicted him of corruption. Suharto was released in 2006.

As campaigns heat up, police said they were deploying more than 270,000 personnel backed by the military, to maintain security.

The Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) urged people to report any campaign violation they see. "We will take action on any violation," Bawaslu member Rahmat Bagja said.

[Ahmad Syamsudin in Jakarta contributed to this report.]

Source: http://www.eurasiareview.com/25092018-indonesia-presidential-campaign-season-begins-analysts-raise-concern/

Parties report campaign budget, ranging from Rp 1m to Rp 105b

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Jakarta – The 16 political parties participating in next year's general elections have submitted their initial campaign budget to the General Elections Commission (KPU), the latter's commissioner, Hasyim Asy'ari revealed on Sunday.

The Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) reported the largest starting amount, with Rp 105 billion (US$7.05 million).

"Rp 103 billion came from the legislative candidates, while Rp 2.386 billion is from the PDI-P central executive board," PDI-P treasure Olly Dondokambey said as quoted by Antara news agency.

PDI-P secretary-general Hasto Kristiyanto said that the party was committed to ensuring the transparency of its campaign funds.

"The PDI-P is consistent in building transparency. That is why the PDI-P received an ISO 9001:2015 certification and is the only party with an ISO certification in ASEAN," he said.

The Gerindra Party reported an initial campaign budget of Rp 73.5 billion, while the Crescent Star Party (PBB) reported Rp 17 billion, the National Awakening Party (PKB) Rp 15 billion and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) rounded out the top five with Rp 11 billion.

On the other end of the spectrum, newcomers Garuda Party and United Indonesia Party (Perindo) each reported Rp 1 million, while the Golkar Party and the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) declined to disclose their budget. (kmt)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/24/parties-report-campaign-budget-ranging-from-rp-1m-to-rp-105b.html

Yudhoyono walks out of campaign declaration

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – Democratic Party chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono staged a walk-out during a campaign declaration at the National Monument (Monas) on Sunday due to unauthorized party regalia worn by people who attended the gathering.

"We have agreed from the start that all the participants would wear traditional attire without party logos, but Yudhoyono saw so many people wearing them and this made it seem like a campaign rally," the Democrats' secretary-general, Hinca Panjaitan, said on Sunday.

Hinca then took over but he was unable to get on the stage to sign the declaration.

He said he had laid a complaint with the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu) about the unauthorized logos.

KPU chairman Arief Budiman said all the participants at the gathering agreed to wear traditional attire during the declaration.

However, he added, the KPU had no authorization to regulate people who waved party flags on the side of the road.

"Besides, we have now entered the campaign period," Arief said. "So, they can now campaign however they want to as long as they follow the rules and regulations." (ris)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/23/yudhoyono-walks-out-of-campaign-declaration.html

Jokowi team reports Rp 11b, Prabowo 'not much', in campaign funds

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Jakarta – The Joko "Jokowi" Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno national campaign teams reported their initial campaign funds to the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Sunday.

Jokowi team member Syafrizal told the press at the KPU office in Jakarta that the team had collected Rp 11 billion (US$742,291) for its initial campaign fund.

"Around Rp 8.5 billion of the fund is in cash, while the rest is in the form of services," he said as quoted by kompas.com.

He said the funding came from individual and corporate donations, which consisted of one individual and four corporations. However, he declined to identify the donors.

Prabowo's team was represented by the vice-presidential candidate himself, Sandiaga Uno. Sandiaga, however, declined to reveal the initial funding. "Sadly, not much," he said as quoted by kompas.com.

Zulkifli Hasan, chairman of the National Mandate Party (PAN), which has endorsed the Prabowo-Sandiaga pair, said on Sunday that the team had collected only Rp 100 million. "I'm not sure, I think Rp 100 million. Only that much has been collected so far," he said as quoted by kompas.com.

Besides presidential candidates, political parties such as the NasDems and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) also reported their initial campaign funds on Sunday.

The PKS reported its initial campaign fund collected in its account amounted to Rp 17 billion, with Rp 5 billion already spent on meetings, campaign displays and other requirements.

The party's financial reporting team head, Unggul Wibawa, said the funding was collected from the party's 553 legislative candidates running in 2019 elections, with each candidate donating around Rp 50 million.

Meanwhile, the NasDem Party also reported that it had collected Rp 500 million in campaign funding.

"We just opened the account five days ago and have collected Rp 500 million in funds and Rp 7 billion in the form of goods and services," Nasdem's treasurer Ahmad Ali said.

The funding for the campaign came from the party's internal cash, donors and members. However, the NasDems have yet to report the details of the sources of the funds.

When asked about the target, Ali said the party had not determined how much money it needed to fund the campaign to win 100 seats at the House of Representatives.

KPU commissioner Hasyim Asy'ari previously explained that there were three types of campaign funding that needed to be reported to the commission for the 2019 elections, including an initial campaign fund report, campaign donations and final campaign fund report. (ris)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/23/jokowi-team-reports-rp-11b-prabowo-not-much-in-campaign-funds.html

Indonesian cities pledge 'peaceful' campaign period

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Andi Hajramurni, Suherdjoko, Rizal Harahap, and Apriadi Gunawan, Makassar/Semarang/Pekanbaru/Medan – Cities have pledged to host peaceful campaign events amid concerns over rising sectarian sentiment during elections over the past few years.

Residents, local public figures and legislative candidates of major cities in the country–namely Medan in North Sumatra, Pekanbaru in Riau, Semarang in Central Java and Makassar in South Sulawesi–gathered at the cities' respective town squares on Sunday, pledging to maintain a peaceful campaign period, which runs from Sunday to April 13 next year.

Makassar General Elections Commission (KPU Makassar) chairperson Misna M. Attas said the region had been zoned "red" until recently, meaning that it had been prone to conflict. However, its security status was revised to "green" following successful 2018 regional elections.

"South Sulawesi [...] is in the 'green zone' at the moment. We shall maintain it during the ongoing campaign period until the 2019 elections end," Misna said.

South Sulawesi Governor Nurdin Abdullah supported the pledge, calling on people to respect each other regardless of ethnicity and religion. "Let's not undermine our achievement in the 2018 regional elections," he said.

In Semarang, legislative candidates, led by Central Java KPU chairman Joko Purnomo, made their vow to lead a peaceful campaign period. The declaration was witnessed by, among others, Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, Semarang Mayor Hevearita Gunaryanti Rahayu and Central Java Police chief Ir. Gen. Condro Kirono.

"The legislative candidates are allowed to argue against each other's ideas, but please do so in an orderly fashion. Use this campaign period to offer solutions to various problems in society," Ganjar said.

Similar events were also held in Pekanbaru and Medan, with both events calling on residents to avoid hoaxes and tribal affiliation, religion, race and societal group (SARA) related issues during the campaign period.

"Let us guard the election [from hoaxes and SARA issues] to create a peaceful atmosphere," Riau acting governor Wan Thamrin Hasyim said.

Separately, Rizal, a mass organization leader in North Sumatra, said the anti-hoax and anti-SARA campaign must be supported "to realize honest politics in Indonesia."

Observers have noted increased sectarian sentiment in recent elections, the worst being the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election and the 2014 presidential election.

In 2017, then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent, lost to challenger Anies Baswedan in a runoff election, after being charged with blasphemy following a statement he made insinuating that religious leaders had used a Quranic verse to manipulate voters.

In 2014, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo faced accusations that he was a communist sympathizer and that he was actually a non-Muslim. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country with a long history of communal conflicts. (vny/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/24/indonesian-cities-pledge-peaceful-campaign-period.html

Buni Yani backs Prabowo-Sandiaga camp to shun prison time

Tempo - September 24, 2018

Francisca Chrsty Rosana, Jakarta – As it turns out, Buni Yani has his own reasons in joining the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno campaign team. Buni is included in the Prabowo camp's media team.

"This is one of my attempts to fight Pak Jokowi," said Buni when Tempo met him at the Senayan parliamentary complex in Jakarta today. Buni Yani plans to fully utilize social media platform for his campaigns.

Buni Yani claims he had become a victim of criminalization in the hate speech case in which he was implicated. Buni's case is closely related to the blasphemy case of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama.

Buni Yani was proven guilty in court for editing a video footage into a short clip containing an excerpt where Ahok mentioned the Al Maidah verse and uploading it onto his social media account in 2016. He was sentenced to 1.5 years behind bars in November, but had yet to be imprisoned.

He added he would not let Jokowi prevailed in the upcoming presidential race, saying that, "Prabowo must win, otherwise I will be imprisoned for 1.5 years," said Buni Yani.

He also said that his joining the Prabowo camp would not sap the pair's electability rate. "Clearly I am qualified because I received my master's degree in the United States," said Buni Yani.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/24/055921926/Buni-Yani-Backs-Prabowo-Sandiaga-Camp-to-Shun-Prison-Time

Ahok supporters, Ma'ruf Amin warm to each other

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Jakarta – Supporters of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, who was imprisoned for blasphemy, have begun warming up to vice presidential candidate Ma'ruf Amin, despite the latter having stated in the past that Ahok had insulted the Quran in relation to his remarks about verse al-Maidah.

The supporters, grouped under Relawan Nusantara (RelaNU), have declared their support for presidential candidate Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Ma'ruf, with RelaNU initiator Nusron Wahid saying on Monday that he had met with the Muslim cleric to show the organization's support for him in next year's election.

"I've just met with Kiai [teacher] Ma'ruf. God willing, we'll gather friends that are still active in the RelaNU network that supported Ahok and Muslim supporters of Ahok to support Pak Jokowi and Kiai Ma'ruf," he said at Ma'ruf's house in Jakarta as quoted by Antara news agency.

Ma'ruf's picture was also on the posters along with other initiators of Defend Islam rallies in late 2016.

He said some Ahok supporters in RelaNU were initially shocked to find out that the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman would be running with Jokowi in the presidential election next year. However, following discussion, they started to understand the reasons behind the selection and vowed to support the pair.

In return, Ma'ruf has expressed his intention to reconcile with Ahok. "I will arrange a special meeting with him," he said at his house in Jakarta on Monday as quoted by Antara. His willingness to meet with Ahok was expressed after Nusron paid a visit to his house.

During his trial last year, Ahok's lawyer team accused Ma'ruf of bias after Ma'ruf testified against him. Ahok later apologized for implying the cleric had succumbed to political pressure in his trial. (ris/evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/24/ahok-supporters-maruf-amin-warm-to-each-other.html

Election campaign kicks off with peace pledge

Jakarta Post - September 23, 2018

Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – The campaign period for the 2019 presidential and legislative elections has officially kicked off, as election participants signed a declaration pledging a "peaceful campaign" at the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta on Sunday.

Presidential and vice presidential hopefuls, political party leaders and Jakarta Representatives Council (DPD) candidates attended the event, which was organized by the General Elections Commission (KPU), clad in traditional attire from various parts of Indonesia.

"We, the participants of the 2019 general elections, promise to [...] conduct an election campaign that is safe, orderly, peaceful, honorable and free from hoaxes, SARA [ethnic, religious, social or racial] politicization and vote buying," said the declaration read out by the candidates.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo wore Balinese clothing, while Gerindra Party chairman Prabowo Subianto wore traditional Central Javan attire. Jokowi's running mate, Ma'ruf Amin, on the other hand, was clad in his typical dress shirt and sarong, while Prabowo's running mate Sandiaga Uno wore a traditional Melayu outfit.

United Development Party (PPP) chairman Romahurmuziy stole the show by dressing up as Gatotkaca, a popular hero from the Mahabharata stories.

Party leaders from both the government camp and the opposition reiterated their commitment to a peaceful and constructive campaign.

"A peaceful campaign is very important, because we have elections every five years. It would not be right for us to fight every five years," National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Zulkifli Hasan said. "This is a contest between brothers, friends and family members."

Golkar chairman Airlangga Hartarto echoed Zulkifli's sentiment. "The Golkar Party will always campaign positively," he said. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/23/election-campaign-kicks-off-with-peace-pledge.html

300 retired TNI generals declare support for Prabowo's presidential bid

Tempo - September 22, 2018

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – As many as 300 retired TNI (Indonesian military) generals from the army, air force and navy have declared their support for the Prabowo Subianto and vice presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno's 2019 presidential bid.

The official statement of support for Prabowo was made following a book dissertation at the Hotel Sari Pan Pacific in Central Jakarta on Saturday September 22.

"Today, gathered in this place, we are of one spirit in our unanimous resolve to fight together, unite our hearts, to join hands together tightly and firmly to give our full support to Prabowo Subianto", said retired Air Chief Marshal Imam Sufa'at.

The declaration of support was greeted with cheers and applause. For an instant the expression on Prabowo's face changed. Shouts of "President Prabowo" reverberated from the former generals.

Prabowo then took to the stage. "I accept this declaration of support as a mandate", he said. Prabowo's statement was immediately greeted with another round of applause.

Prabowo admitted that he was surprised by the declaration of support from the 300 retired generals because they had not informed him before had that such a declaration would be made. The presidential candidate Number 02 said that he thought that the gathering was simply to take part in a discussion.

He never suspected that he would receive so much support from his superiors because Prabowo had exempted his teachers and mentors in the upcoming 2019 general elections.

Following the declaration, Prabowo went around the room shaking the hands of the VIP guests.

Also seen at the event was the Prabowo-Sandiaga election campaign team head and former TNI chief Djoko Santoso, Tommy Suharto's Working Party (Partai Berkarya) Advisory Board chairperson Siti Hediati Hariyadi alias Titiek Suharto, retired army general Widjojo Soejono and Working Party Honorary Board chairperson retired Air Chief Marshal Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "300 Jenderal Purnawirawan Deklarasi Dukung Prabowo-Sandiaga".]

Source: https://pilpres.tempo.co/read/1129035/300-jenderal-purnawirawan-deklarasi-dukung-prabowo-sandiaga

Ma'ruf Amin resigns as NU supreme leader

Jakarta Post - September 22, 2018

Jakarta – Vice-presidential candidate Ma'ruf Amin has resigned from his position as Rais 'Aam (supreme leader), of the country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU). His deputy, Miftahul Achar, has been appointed to replace him.

"Serving as Rais 'Aam is a noble mandate for all NU members, including myself. However, there is a situation in which I, an NU member, cannot avoid. The nation has called on me to give my best as a vice-presidential nominee," Ma'ruf said in his resignation letter dated Sept. 22.

"My choice is a new path of struggle for the greater benefit [of the Indonesian people]," he said.

The plenary meeting accepted Ma'ruf's resignation, as it aligns with the organization's statutes that stipulate the Rais 'Aam must resign if he or she is running for office.

The plenary meeting also appointed Ma'ruf as a member of NU's Mustasyar (advisory board), for the period of 2015 to 2020.

On Friday, the General Elections Commission officially declared Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin as well as Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno, as the two president-vice president candidates for the upcoming election. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/22/maruf-amin-resigns-as-nu-supreme-leader.html

Jokowi number 1, Prabowo number 2 on ballot

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and his running mate Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin got number 1, while challenger Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno got number 2.

The numbers were set in a draw at the General Elections Commission (KPU) on Friday night. Before Jokowi picked the pair's number, Ma'ruf initiated a prayer that later got Prabowo and Sandiaga to pray along.

Jokowi and Ma'ruf are backed by nine political parties, including the ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Golkar Party, while the Prabowo-Sandiaga pair is backed by the Gerindra Party, the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), the National Mandate Party (PAN) and the Democratic Party.

The number will shape the campaign motto and slogans of each candidate. In the 2014 presidential election, Prabowo and then-running mate Hatta Rajasa drew number 1, while Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla drew number two.

The latter pair managed to make the number two an exemplary part of their successful 2014 presidential election campaign, especially with the popular jingle "Salam Dua Jari" (Two Finger Salute).

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/21/breaking-jokowi-number-1-prabowo-number-2-on-ballot.html

Two arrested, 10 injured in clash between students, Jokowi supporters

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – A clash erupted on Thursday between university students and supporters of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in Medan, North Sumatra, which left at least 10 people injured.

Medan Police chief Sr. Comr. Dadang Hartanto said the situation was currently under control and the police were liaising with both groups. "We are coordinating with both groups to prevent more conflicts," he said on Thursday.

Dadang said the students and the Jokowi supporters were staging separate rallies at the same time in front of the North Sumatra Legislative Council building.

The affray started when Jokowi supporters delivered speeches about the unity of the Republic of Indonesia, while the student group protested about the country's poor economic conditions.

Dadang said several students were injured and others arrested after the clash. Two student protesters were detained for allegedly vandalizing a police car.

Wira, the coordinator for the student group, which called itself the Medan University Student Movement Alliance, condemned the police's actions.

He called on the police to release the detained students. "We demand the police release our friends whom they arrested today," he said.

Wira said the conflict started between the two separate rallies when an unknown person among the Jokowi supporters threw a piece of wood at the student protesters. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/20/two-arrested-10-injured-in-clash-between-students-jokowi-supporters.html

KPU announces candidates for 2019 presidential election

Jakarta Globe - September 21, 2018

Telly Nathalia, Jakarta – The national election organizing agency officially announced Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto as candidates and Ma'ruf Amin and Sandiaga Uno as their respective running mates in next year's presidential poll.

The candidate pairs, who have passed administrative and medical vetting, will pick their contestant numbers on Friday evening (21/09).

"The meeting determined that the two candidate pairs who have registered with the KPU: Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin and Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno, have met all the qualifications," General Elections Commission (KPU) chairman Arief Budiman said at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday.

All four candidates will receive special police protection from Thursday until the winner of the election is announced. The National Police is responsible for the candidates' security.

The campaign period will officially commence on Sunday. Indonesia will hold simultaneous legislative and presidential elections on April 17 next year.

Nearly 8,000 candidates will compete for seats in the national and regional legislatures, while 807 candidates will seek election to the Regional Representative Council, or DPD, Arief said.

He added that 36 candidates contesting seats in regional legislative councils and six running for seats in the DPD are former graft convicts.

Despite an earlier decision by the KPU to exclude former corruptors from next year's elections, the 42 candidates filed an appeal with the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and a judicial review in the Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/kpu-announces-candidates-for-2019-presidential-election/

TNI chief warns members to be unbiased during election

Tempo - September 20, 2018

Pribadi Wicaksono, Jakarta – Indonesian Army (TNI) Commander Hadi Tjahjanto called for every member of TNI to maintain their neutrality upon safeguarding the 2019 general elections; both legislative or presidential elections.

"If anyone sees a TNI soldier violating its neutrality, immediately report to the Armed Forces Information Office (Puspen TNI) where we will follow it up," said Hadi at Yogyakarta on Thursday, September 20. Hadi asserts that soldiers that are proven to be biased will face significant punishments. The official campaign period of 2019 general elections will kick-off on September 23.

"The punishments will be related to the person's career. That's it," said Hadi without detailing what type of punishment that will be imposed to TNI soldiers that violate.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/20/055921828/TNI-Chief-Warns-Members-to-be-Unbiased-During-Election

Tommy Suharto and sister Titiek join Prabowo's election campaign team

Detik News - September 20, 2018

Elza Astari Retaduari, Jakarta – The youngest son of former president Suharto and Working Party (Partai Berkarya) chairperson Hutomo Mandala Putra (Tommy Soeharto) has joined the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno election campaign team referred to as the National Winning Board.

His older sister, who is also the chairperson of the Working Party's advisory board, Siti Hediati Hariyadi (Titiek Soeharto), has also joined the Prabowo-Sandi election campaign team (timses).

Based on information gathered by Detik, on Thursday September 20, Tommy became one of the advisory board members while Titiek became a member of the management board.

The following is a list of names on the Prabowo-Sandiaga election campaign advisory and management boards:

Advisory Board

Management Board

In total there are 800 people on the Prabowo-Sandiaga election campaign team. The team will be led by Prabowo's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) advisory board member and former Armed Forces commander Djoko Santoso.

Santoso said that the timses structure would be registered with the General Elections Commission (KPU) later this evening.

"We will go all out after magrib [evening prayers] because they (the KPU) are currently in a meeting", said Santoso speaking in front of Prabowo's private residence on Jl. Kertanegara in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta, on Thursday September 20. (elz/dkp)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Tommy Soeharto Dewan Pembina Timses Prabowo, Titiek Dewan Pengarah".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4221185/tommy-soeharto-dewan-pembina-timses-prabowo-titiek-dewan-pengarah

Anti-Jokowi icon joins Prabowo campaign

Jakarta Post - September 19, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – Anti-Jokowi activist and Muslim preacher Neno Warisman takes charge as a deputy chairwoman of the campaign team of presidential candidate pair Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.

National Mandate Party (PAN) executive Yandri Susanto said the decision to include her on the campaign team was made by Prabowo, the Gerindra Party chairman and the only rival of incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"In a meeting, which was attended by Prabowo last night [Tuesday evening], Neno said she accepted [the offer] to join the campaign team, and we decided to make her a deputy chairwoman," Yandri told reporters at Prabowo's residence on Jl. Kertanegara, South Jakarta, on Wednesday.

Neno, who was a famous singer in the 1990s, is one of the campaigners of the #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ChangePresident) movement, but previously did not mention support for a specific candidate.

Yandri said Neno and her supporters had now decided to support Prabowo-Sandiaga.

"Neno told us about the ups and downs in campaigning for the movement. And at the end, she has to make a stance. Last night, she told us that she'd join our coalition and get ready to be all-out to [help] Prabowo-Sandiaga win," Yandri said.

Neno often cites Quranic verses to woo Muslim audience members. During a rally in Medan, footage of which is available on YouTube, Neno called on her supporters to vote against Jokowi to prevent their children from "becoming homosexuals". The movement smacks of sectarianism and is widely popular among voters with irrational fears of Jokowi.

Prabowo's coalition is finalizing the list of its campaign team members, with hundreds of names, including a number of clerics and Muslim figures, expected to take part. Former Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Djoko Santoso has been appointed chairman of the campaign team.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/19/anti-jokowi-icon-joins-prabowo-campaign.html

Jokowi, Prabowo to battle for Indonesia's 187.1 million voters

Asian Correspondent - September 19, 2018

Indonesia's presidential race is expected to kick off this Sunday with both President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and former general Prabowo Subianto fighting for the ballots of 187.1 million eligible voters ahead of polling day next April.

The country's General Elections Commission (KPU) removed more than 670,000 names from its electoral roll after receiving complaints on duplicate names in its registry, according to the Straits Times.

This came following the Elections Supervisory Agency's discovery of 2.9 million duplicate names in the voter list, which prompted a clean-up of the list of voters before polling takes place on April 17.

The two will begin their seven-month long campaigns this weekend to shore up votes in an unprecedented election for the republic which for the first time has nearly half of the total voters aged 35-years-old or younger.

Idil Akbar, a political analyst at Padjadjaran University said he believed both candidates will be treating the millenial vote as a priority, particularly in the country's most populous central region of Java.

"It is incredible, (millennials) make up around 31 per cent of voters in Java, and if we talk about West Java, it is about 35 per cent," he said.

The upcoming election will also be the first time that voter will be choosing the president and members of parliament on the same day. Since 1998, Indonesia has practised an electoral system that prevents a single party from holding power following the downfall of dictator Suharto in 1998.

Jokowi and his Islamic cleric running mate Ma'ruf Amin is backed by the nine-party Golkar coalition led by the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle (PDI-P), while Prabowo and Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno is contesting under The Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra).

Ma'ruf's selection comes at a time when the Muslim-majority country is experiencing the decline of its pluralistic brand of Islam and the rise of religious fundamentalism promulgated by influential far-right groups.

Prabowo and Sandiaga are both influential nationalists with deep ties to the business and military elite, as well as popular ultraconservative religious groups like the Islamic Defenders Front (IDF).

With over 100 million smartphone users in the country, social media is expected to be a key battleground for Jokowi and Prabowo who are wooing an estimated 70 million first-time voters. Much of the campaigning will also focus on the state of the economy and bread and butter issues.

Jokowi's presence on social media far outweighs Prabowo, dominating on Twitter with 10.2 million followers while Subianto has only a third of the figure at 3.17 million followers.

On Instagram, Jokowi's 10.8 million followers outnumber Prabowo eight-to-one, but the incumbent president is behind Prabowo on Facebook with one million fewer followers.

With more than half a million followers on YouTube, Jokowi regularly updates his channel with vlogs but Subianto does not appear to have a dedicated channel.

Source: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2018/09/jokowi-subiantos-battle-for-indonesias-187-1mil-voters-begins-sunday/

KPU: Court allows ex-narcotic convict as legislative candidate

Tempo - September 18, 2018

Syafiul Hadi, Jakarta – General Election Commission (KPU) commissioner Hasyim Asyari said the Supreme Court granted a lawsuit against KPU Regulation (PKPU) No. 20/2018. This means that former convicts of drug crimes and children sexual abuse were allowed to become legislative candidates.

"The three categories are noted in one regulation; so if the regulation is dismissed, then all the three categories will be passed," said Hasyim in the KPU Office, Jakarta, Tuesday, September 18.

The Supreme Court (MA) granted a legal challenge against PKPU No. 20/2018 which stipulates a prohibition of former convicts of drug crimes, children sexual abuse, and corruption crimes to become legislative candidates.

However, Hasyim went on to say, KPU would not carelessly put a candidate who was a former convict in the Final Legislative Candidate List (DCT). According to him, KPU would enter the candidate names who were already placed in the illegible list (TMS) and those who filed an appeal to the Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu).

"KPU will review [the candidates] based on Bawaslu's decision that is postponed due to MA's verdict," Hasyim said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/18/055921754/KPU-Court-Allows-Ex-Narcotic-Convict-as-Legislative-Candidate

Kwik Kian Gie reveals reason for joining Prabowo

Tempo - September 18, 2018

Budiarti Utami, Jakarta – Senior economist Kwik Kian Gie admitted that he had offered his ideas about economics to President Joko Widodo or Jokowi, but Jokowi did not respond at all.

The statement was said by Kwik when asked about the reasons for being an advisor to Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno in the 2019 presidential election. Whereas Kwik is a functionary of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP). He has also been part of the Central Executive Board in the party.

Read also: 2019 Elections: Prabowo, Kwik Kian Gie Set to Meet Tonight "Regarding Pak Jokowi, has he ever invited me to speak? No," Kwik said during a press conference at Prabowo's house, Jalan Kertanegara IV, South Jakarta, Monday night, September 17.

Kwik who is also the Former Head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) said that only Prabowo who invited him to discuss economics. "So it is logical that I speak with Pak Prabowo first," said Kwik Kian Gie.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/18/055921727/Kwik-Kian-Gie-Reveals-Reason-for-Joining-Prabowo

Sandiaga Uno: The rich get richer, the poor get poorer

Tempo - September 17, 2018

Fikri Arigi, Jakarta – Sandiaga Uno determined to focus on the economy issue in the 2019 Presidential Election considering economic enhancement now becomes more relevant. He quoted Dangdut musician Rhoma Irama's song to describe present Indonesian economy.

"The rich get richer, the poor get poorer," said Sandiaga as he sang the lyrics from Rhoma's famous song, when met after the National Mandate Party (PAN)'s event at Grand Paragon Hotel, Sunday, September 16.

The would-be vice presidential deemed the country's economy did not take a side to the community interest. Thus he was keen to build economic patriotism which was an economic system that favors the society.

Sandiaga added, if the economic issue was not brought up in the presidential election next year, it would create a wider economic gap and become a root of social problems.

"If the issue is left unchecked, that will be really unacceptable," said Sandi in a typical pronunciation of Rhoma Irama.

According to the former Jakarta deputy governor, another economic problem faced by Indonesia is the lack of employment opportunities. Seeking for a job during the past four years has become very difficult and even more difficult than in previous years.

Further, he mentioned, the price hike of staple food issue. He said it was the household wives who were directly affected by the issue.

"Those who are directly affected are the household wives, mothers of our nation. [The price hike] directly hit their economic condition," Sandiaga Uno remarked.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/17/055921695/Sandiaga-Uno-The-Rich-Get-Richer-The-Poor-Get-Poorer

Zulkifli behind move to defeat Ahok: Prabowo

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2018

Jakarta – National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman Zulkifli Hasan was the brains behind the strategy to defeat then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in the 2017 gubernatorial election, presidential candidate and Gerindra Party head Prabowo Subianto said.

In his speech during a briefing for PAN legislative candidates, Prabowo said he had learned about the move from PAN politicians, including Zulkifli, who had told him about the game plan to beat Ahok in the election.

"[Zulkifli] revealed how [he] had mulled strategies to bring down Ahok," Prabowo told the attendees as reported by kompas.com on Sunday.

Last year, PAN joined the Gerindra and Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) coalition during the second round of the Jakarta election to back the Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket, challenging incumbent Ahok and running mate Djarot Saiful Hidayat.

Prabowo said the coalition's strategy to beat Ahok had been discussed at Zulkifli's official residence at the time, during which they decided that coalition members should reach out to neighborhood units (RT) and community units (RW) in the province.

"Afterwards, we returned to [our] party executive board [DPP] and went down to RT level. We did not need to hold grand meetings because we did not have money at the time," Prabowo added.

Anies and Sandiaga clinched victory in the second round after defeating Ahok and Djarot who was backed by a coalition of major political parties, including the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), the Golkar Party, the NasDem Party and the United Development Party (PPP). (afr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/17/zulkifli-behind-move-to-defeat-ahok-prabowo.html

KPU lists 187.1 million eligible voters for 2019 election

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2018

Jakarta – The General Elections Commission (KPU) has listed 187.1 million eligible voters on the final voter list (DPT) for the 2019 general election.

The KPU recently dealt with reports about double data in the preliminary voter list and found that the number of eligible voters in the revised list decreased by more than 670,000, kompas.com reported on Sunday.

Commission data released on Sept. 16 shows that the number of eligible voters decreased from 187,781,884 on the Sept. 5 list to 187,109,973 on the revised list, with 185.08 million domestic voters and 2.04 million voters living overseas.

The number of polling stations across the country has been decreased from 805,074 to 805,068, with 13 polling stations being dropped in West Papua, North Kalimantan, North Sumatra, West Java, Central Sulawesi and Central Kalimantan. One polling station was added in Maluku.

"The DPT affects a lot of things [...] including the number of ballot boxes and forms that must be made available," KPU chairman Arief Budiman said.

The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the camp of presidential candidate pair Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno previously complained about double data on the voter list.

Bawaslu said it found 2.9 million double-listed voters on the list, while the coalition backing Prabowo's candidacy claimed that they found 8.1 million double-listed voters on the list.

Voters will cast their ballots in the presidential election and legislative election on April 17 next year. (afr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/17/kpu-lists-187-1-million-eligible-voters-for-2019-election.html

Economic nationalism is back in Indonesia as election approaches

Bloomberg - September 17, 2018

Yoga Rusmana, Viriya Singgih, and Eko Listiyorini, Jakarta – Facing a challenge from a self-proclaimed nationalist, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has used speeches after his nomination for April's vote to tout his success in wresting control of the nation's prized natural resources from foreign companies.

Now the campaign in the lead up to the April 2019 poll is expected to develop into a battle built around economic nationalism. While it may risk a retreat by foreign investors from Southeast Asia's biggest economy, it's still likely to be a vote winner, according to analysts.

Jokowi has carried forward the resource nationalism championed by his predecessor Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono by taking steps to take back assets managed by multinationals such as Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Total SA and Chevron Corp. His government recently ordered all oil producers to sell their crude to state refiner PT Pertamina as it sought to cut imports.

Jokowi is pitted against Prabowo Subianto, a former general and the chief of the opposition Gerindra party, in a rematch of the 2014 elections. As Jokowi struggles to meet his 7 percent growth target and defend the rupiah that has slumped to the lowest level since the Asian financial crisis in 1997-98, he's likely to raise the pitch of nationalist rhetoric.

"We maintain our sovereignty, we guard our natural resources," the president said. "We want to use that as much as possible for the prosperity of the Indonesian people."

Economic independence

Resource nationalism "might be deemed unfriendly for investors, but looking at the consistency in the past years, the trend will likely remain in years to come," said Komaidi Notonegoro, executive director of Jakarta-based ReforMiner Institute. "There has also been a shift in our investment paradigm from pro-market to economic independence."

The pull of protectionism has characterized Jokowi's tenure since 2014, when he became the country's second directly-elected president. Indonesia, rich in natural resources from tin to nickel and copper to natural gas, is keen to keep more of that wealth for the benefit of its 265 million people by restricting exports.

After filing his nomination for re-election on Aug. 10, Jokowi told his supporters he had protected the national interest by securing control of Grasberg copper and gold mine operated by Freeport and Rokan oil and gas field from Chevron. While Grasberg is the world's second-largest copper mine, Rokan is Indonesia's largest oil block.

Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno have echoed similar nationalist sentiments. The duo have pledged to preserve Indonesia's wealth for its people and not allow other nations to exploit it.

"Indonesia's wealth is for the people of Indonesia, not for other nations – we do not want to be a minion of other nations, become a lackey and slave to other nations," Prabowo said last month.

Still, the government insisted the takeover of oil and gas fields was not nationalism. "If the foreign companies made better offers, we would give the blocks to them," Djoko Siswanto, the director-general of oil and gas at the energy ministry, said. "This has nothing to do with nationalization. This is all about the economics."

Rising foreign direct investment since Jokowi became president indicates that investors consider the world's fourth-most populous country as too big a market to ignore. Annual foreign investment jumped 13 percent in three years to $32.2 billion in 2017, official data show.

"Nationalist rhetoric is definitely a 'vote getter' in Indonesia where foreign investment is viewed by most people as either a bad thing or, at least, a necessary evil that must be strictly controlled," said Bill Sullivan, a lawyer specializing in mining at Christian Teo & Partners in Jakarta.

"I expect a repeat of the 2014 presidential election when every political party and politician sought to stake out the most extreme resource nationalist position possible."

BHP, Newmont

Indonesia banned metal ore exports in 2014 to encourage smelter construction, arguing that too much wealth was shifting to refineries overseas. The move led to mine closures and a global surge in nickel prices. Newmont Mining Corp. and BHP Billiton Ltd. both pulled out of Indonesia in 2016 by selling their mining assets to local players. The ban has since been relaxed to allow some exports.

Investors are bracing for the takeover of more oil and gas assets, where current contracts are due to end in the next few years and will cost the government very little to acquire, Notonegoro said. "It's different in the mining sector because when a contract expires, the government has to pay some compensation to take over the mining asset, like in Freeport case," he said.

The nationalistic drive has led to state-owned companies dominating the resources sector. PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium is in the final stages of taking a majority stake at Grasberg valued at about $3.85 billion, while Pertamina took over Mahakam and Rokan oil blocks from Total and Chevron respectively.

Yet allowing state-owned companies to dominate the energy or mining industry will, based on their past track record, encourage corruption, inefficiency and political interference, said Sullivan from Christian Teo & Partners. That will reduce the competitiveness and make "world class western energy or mining companies reluctant to invest in Indonesia."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/17/economic-nationalism-is-back-in-indonesia-as-election-approaches.html

Fake news & black campaigns

'Scandal' website portrays Sandiaga Uno as womanizer

Jakarta Post - September 25, 2018

Jakarta – The campaign teams of presidential candidates President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto have called for the closure of a website accusing the latter's running mate, Sandiaga Uno, of having affairs with multiple women.

Prabowo campaign spokesperson Dahnil Simanjuntak urged the police to immediately look into the matter.

"Regarding the hoax and slander that has been spread on social media and the internet about @sandiuno, I would like to have National Police chief Tito [Karnavian's] promise that he will take firm measures against those who spread hoaxes and slander during the campaign period," Dahnil tweeted on Tuesday, adding that he hoped the police would not only act on slander against the incumbent.

Jokowi campaign spokesperson Ridlwan Habib echoed Dahnil's sentiments.

"The Jokowi-Ma'ruf [Amin] campaign team asks that websites containing slander be immediately shut down," he said on Tuesday as quoted by Antara. "The President's campaign will be directed toward work programs and ideas. It is strictly forbidden to attack the other side."

The Communications and Information Ministry said it had already taken steps to block the site.

"We received a request from the National Police headquarters at 9 a.m. to block the site," ministry spokesperson Ferdinandus Setu said on Tuesday. "At 10:30 a.m., our system, which is connected directly to ISPs [Internet Service Providers], requested that the site be blocked."

As of the time of writing, however, the website skandalsandiaga.com, which includes numerous articles and explicit images detailing the former Jakarta deputy governor's alleged affairs, remains accessible.

According to data from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the site's domain name was first registered on Sunday by Privacy Protect LLC, a United States-based company that replaces domain owners' visible contact details with alternate contact information. (kmt)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/25/scandal-website-portrays-sandiaga-uno-as-womanizer.html

Prabowo to set up anti-hoax team during election campaign

Tempo - September 23, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto and his pair, Sandiaga Uno, have set up an anti-hoax campaign supervisory team to help their supporters convey accurate information to the public.

"Our team will monitor every key influential figure and key opinion leader to make sure the situation remain cool during the election 2019 process," Uno said on Sunday.

The team will impose firm action if it finds a supporter spreading hoax or false news, and will event report the case to police, he added.

The Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno pair is committed to maintaining peace during the election process by applying three rulings to the campaign team.

Any information should be verified first, useful, and does not hurt any one, he stated, adding that false news would not be tolerated.

Besides, he also urged supporters to convey campaign messages which are cool, promote unity and brotherhood.

Two presidential candidates, Prabowo-Uno, and incumbent Joko Widodo and his pair, Maruf Amin, on Sunday morning, attended Peace Declaration campaign aimed at maintaining peace during the presidential and legislative election process.

They signed an integrity pact stating their pledge to uphold democratic, free, fair and just elections.

They also promised to maintain peace, order, and integrity during the elections which should be free from hoax, from money laundering and from religious and race issues.

Organized by the General Election Commission (KPU), the declaration of peaceful election campaigns was also attended by leaders of coalition parties supporting presidential candidates, Police Chief General Tito Karnavian and representatives of the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu).

The Peace Declaration event held at the National Monument (Monas) area also marked the first day of election campaign period, which is from September 23, 2018 to April 13, 2019.

Indonesia will organize direct presidential and legislative elections on April 17, 2019.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/23/055921895/Prabowo-to-Set-Up-Anti-hoax-Team-During-Election-Campaign

Perludem: Hoax may delegitimize election

Tempo - September 22, 2018

M Rosseno Aji, Jakarta – Election watchdog Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) assessed false information or hoax could delegitimize an election considering it would encourage the public to choose a candidate based on wrong information.

"If voters make a choice based on unfair information, thus the freedom of choice is manipulated by false information," said Perludem head Titi Anggraini in Cikini, Jakarta, Saturday, September 22.

Titi explained the election principle is freedom, honesty, and fair which are related to the public freedom to vote. The freedom to take a ballot could be obtained as long as the public received the right information.

"The freedom of choice must in line with the reception of fair and correct information," she underlined.

Titi gave an example of the freedom of choice issue that affected the legitimacy of the election in the United States. She said the legitimacy of Donald Trump's victory was suspected because of the alleged involvement of Cambridge Analityca that stole Facebook user's data for the sake of the campaign. "The election is still questioned up until now," she added.

However, Titi saw the trend of hoax spread and hate speech on social media ahead of the 2019 election declined, compared to the previous election in 2014 when hoax spreading occurred even long before the election was held. She further appreciated both coalitions of Jokowi and Prabowo Subianto who are determined to develop Indonesia.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/22/055921882/Perludem-Hoax-May-Delegitimize-Election

Palace says latest PKI attack on President Widodo shows Prabowo camp

Detik News - September 22, 2018

Andhika Prasetia, Jakarta – Presidential Staff deputy head Ali Mochtar Ngabalin has rebuked Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) deputy chairperson Fadli Zon over the posting of a video insinuating that the government is actually the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

According to Ngabalin, Zon has lost touch with reality in his attacks on President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

"This is evidence that they've run about of campaign material, yet the [election] campaign still has 7-8 months to go", said Ngabalin when sought for confirmation on Saturday September 22.

The former member of Gerindra chairperson Prabowo Subianto's 2014 presidential election campaign team said he regrets that Zon is indirectly spreading slander.

"But if the campaign period hasn't even begun and you are already using narratives and diction which is full of slander and hatred, I don't think this is good, it's uncivilized even, in the context of mutual respect and appreciation. Editing and changing lyrics is far from the civilized behaviour [expected] of a respected national figure and people's representative", said Ngabalin.

Ngabalin hopes that Zon's attack against Widodo will in fact make the people more sympathetic and supportive of him.

"Salutations to Fadli Zon. For me, the more you slander the government, particularly Pak [Mr] Jokowi, the more it will generate sympathy from many people in this country", said Ngabalin.

Earlier, Zon posted a video which is apparently borrows the tune from the children's song "Cut the Goose". The video depicts three men and six women wearing face veils (hijab) wearing black and blue uniforms and penguin masks in a dance formation.

The men and women in the video dance along to a song filled with sharp political insinuations. Below are the song's lyrics taken from "Cut the Goose" ala Fadli Zon.

Cut the goose, cook it in the pan
Failed to lead the nation, pushing for a second term
Slander the HTI (Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia), slander the FPI (Islamic Defenders Front)
Turns out they're the PKI
Slander the HTI, slander the FPI
Turns out they're the PKI

Cut the goose, cook it in the pan
Failed to lead the nation, wanting a second term
Afraid of being replaced by Prabowo-Sandi
Lala lala lala lala la la la
Afraid of being replaced by Prabowo-Sandi
Lala lala lala lala la la la

Allahu Akbar (God is great).

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Jubir Istana Sayangkan Fadli Zon Posting Video 'Ternyata Mereka PKI'".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/4223797/jubir-istana-sayangkan-fadli-zon-posting-video-ternyata-mereka-pki

Beware of hoaxes, fake news ahead of 2019 election

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Jakarta – Fierce rivalry in the concurrent legislative and presidential elections next year is expected to result in a flood of hoaxes and fake news as candidates and their supporters will use social media as a platform to win over voters, election observers say.

Association for Elections and Democracy (Perludem) director Titi Anggraini said the elections, which will have a coattail effect in which the influence of a particular figure could make or break a politician's popularity, would trigger smear campaigns.

"The attitude of 'ready to win, not ready to lose' will prompt the use [by political actors and supporters] of hoaxes as tools to win the election," she said during a discussion on Thursday.

Titi further explained that a higher electoral threshold from 3.5 to 4 percent and the increased number of political parties from 10 to 16 contesting the election would make them more competitive.

She suggested that each political party, candidate, the General Elections Commission (KPU) and the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) establish a quick response center to fact-check information spread through social media to counter any misinformation that may harm someone's reputation.

Titi also suggested the two election organizers cooperate with the Communications and Information Ministry and social media enterprises in tackling the distribution of false information.

Eddy OS Hiariej, a law expert from Gadjah Mada University (UGM), seconded Titi, saying the police should deal with perpetrators who created or spread hoaxes and fake news to create a deterrent among society.

"People should know that campaigns must not cause division. They also must not produce false information about an individual or group, or offend people with sectarian issues," he said.

Eddy said there were laws that could be used to deal with the creators and distributors of fake information, namely the Criminal Code, the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law and the General Elections Law.

"Misinformation and disinformation can lead to conflicts in the already polarized society," he said. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/21/beware-of-hoaxes-fake-news-ahead-of-2019-election.html

State Palace denies it was behind Asia Sentinel report

Jakarta Post - September 19, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The State Palace dismissed suggestions made by the Democratic Party that it was behind a scathing Asia Sentinel article accusing the party and its leader, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, of being involved in the Bank Century case. The accusation, a senior palace official said, did not make any sense.

The article, based on an investigation report filed with the Mauritian Supreme Court, highlighted the allegation that the Yudhoyono administration had engaged in a "vast criminal conspiracy" to swindle US$12 billion from Indonesian taxpayers and launder it overseas.

The party denied claims made in the article and threatened to sue Asia Sentinel for running the story.

Democratic Party deputy secretary-general Rachland Nashidik took to Twitter to express his suspicion that the palace, under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration, was involved in the publication of the article.

Rachland uploaded a picture featuring Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko and Asia Sentinel cofounder Lin Neumann in a group photo onto his Twitter account @RachlanNashidik on Tuesday morning, as he wrote in his post, "Is the State Palace involved in slandering SBY [Yudhoyono]?"

Hours after uploading Moeldoko's picture, Rachland also posted a photo of Jokowi with Neumann, who is also the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Indonesia managing director, to his Twitter account and mentioned the President's own twitter account.

"Our question is, what is the hidden agenda of the US trade organization when it has ties to Sir Neumann, whose media has been active in slandering @jokowi rival camp in the lead-up to the presidential election?" Rachland wrote.

The Dems back the presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno ticket for the 2019 election, challenging the reelection of Jokowi, who is running with Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin.

Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi dismissed Rachland's accusations. "The State Palace does not have any interest in Pak SBY [Yudhoyono] and Pak SBY's relationship with Pak Jokowi is good," Johan said.

Meanwhile, Moeldoko explained that the picture was taken during a discussion held between the Executive Office of the President and AmCham in May, on the occasion of which they talked about US investment in Indonesia.

The retired general claimed that he did not know Neumann was also the cofounder of Asia Sentinel.

"I did not even engage in people-to-people communication because of limited time," Moeldoko said, adding that he did not talk to Neumann in person, let alone discuss the Bank Century case. "The accusation makes no sense," he added. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/18/state-palace-denies-it-was-behind-asia-sentinel-report.html

FPI member arrested for sharing fake video of students rioting at

Coconuts Jakarta - September 17, 2018

Indonesian social media is often awash in fake news, especially around elections, and the government has been fighting these hoaxes with harsh laws that can criminalize the creation and even sharing of these stories.

The 2019 presidential election campaign season has not even officially started yet but already one man has been arrested for sharing a fake video aimed at raising ire about President Joko Widodo.

Jakarta Police investigators officially arrested the man, identified by his initials SAA, yesterday but announced that he had been detained and was a member of the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) today.

On Friday, SAA shared a video showing students protesting in front of the Constitutional Court building in Jakarta, juxtaposed with video of what looked like a riot in front of the same building. In the caption to the video, SAA wrote that Jakarta was already in the midst of a movement and students were demanding action while using the hashtag #turunkanjokowi (bring down Jokowi). He also asked that the people make the video viral because TV was controlled by the government and wouldn't show it.

The police quickly responded the same day with messages on their own social media explaining that what SAA had shared was a misleading mixture of two different videos. One showed a real but peaceful protest in March by students against the controversial MD3 law. The second was a video actually shot on Friday which showed a police training exercise involving a simulation of a riot taking place in front of the court house building.

"By sharing the simulation, the suspects wanted to make it look as if it was real so that others would really took part in demonstrations (against Jokowi)," Jakarta Police Public Relations Head Argo Yuwono said today as quoted by Kompas.

During the arrest, police said they confiscated two of SAA's cell phones and got access to his Facebook accounts as evidence. They said they were still investigating the case and might arrest others involved.

A lawyer representing SAA from FPI's legal aid group, Mirza Zulkarnaen, argued that her client did not have any malicious intent and was simply ignorant about the content of the videos, not knowing about the MD3 law or the police simulation.

Nonetheless, police have named SAA a suspect for violating Indonesia's controversial Law on Information and Electronic Transactions (UU ITE) which includes articles criminalizing the sharing of online content that is false or defamatory. He could potentially face up to 5 years if found guilty.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/fpi-member-arrested-sharing-fake-video-students-rioting-front-supreme-court/

Surveys & opinion polls

'212' anti-Ahok protests led to increasing political intolerance: survey

Coconuts Jakarta - September 25, 2018

The massive protests that took place against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama during the 2017 gubernatorial race – triggered by accusations that the Christian politician of Chinese-descent had committed blasphemy against Islam – are seen as defining events in modern Indonesian politics.

According to the results of a data analysis by a prominent survey group, the so-called 212 protests (named for the largest demonstration, which took place on 2/12/2016) has had the effect of making the country's Muslims majority increasingly intolerant towards the political rights of those belonging to minority faiths.

Burhanuddin Muhtadi, a senior researcher at the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI), said their survey data showed that Muslim respondents have shown increasingly extremists viewpoints in the wake of the protests that ultimately led to Ahok's loss in the 2017 election and the two-year blasphemy sentence he is currently serving.

"There are claims from (Muslim scholars) saying the anti-Ahok demonstrations were a culmination of radicalism, but that is lacking justification. The opposite is true," Burhanuddin said during a press conference at the Sari Pacific Hotel in Jakarta yesterday as quoted by Tempo.

According to LSI's 2016 survey data, 48% of Muslim respondents said they would object if a non-Muslim became president of Indonesia. In 2017 that number increased to 53% and in their most recent data from this year that number increased again to 59%.

A similar increase could be seen in Muslim respondents' acceptance of a non-Muslim vice president. In 2016, 41% said they'd object to a non-Muslim VP, which increased to 50% in 2017 and 55% in 2018. The same trend towards intolerance could be seen when it came to non-Muslims being governors, regents and mayors.

In connecting these increases to the 212 protests, it's important to note that the blasphemy accusation against Ahok stemmed from the former governor's reference to a Quranic verse that some interpret to mean that Muslims may not vote for non-Muslim candidates (but which many others do not). The 212 movement became not simply about defeating Ahok, but also pushing the politically convenient theological argument that Muslims may only vote for other Muslims, something LSI's surveys seem to show they have done successfully.

In another sign that the increase in political intolerance was manufactured, LSI noted that opposite trends were seen in other intolerant attitudes towards minority faiths. For example, their surveys showed that, in 2010, 64% of Muslims objected to non-Muslims building houses of worship in their neighborhoods. That figure actually decreased in 2011 to 61%, then down to 52% in 2016 and down again to 48% in 2017 (although that number did see a slight increase to 52% in 2018).

A similar downward trend could also be seen in the percentage of Muslim respondents objecting to non-Muslims holding religious events, which dropped from 50% in 2011 to 38% in 2018.

A spokesperson for the hardliner-affiliated Alumni Brotherhood 212 political group, Novel Bamukmin (of Fitsa Hats fame), said that his group rejected LSI's analysis and accused them of being a tool of President Joko Widodo's administration.

"In regards to LSI, we strongly suspect that they did this survey on the order of the authorities to bring down the electability of legislative candidates, gubernatorial candidates and presidential candidates that oppose them, LSI has been tasked with driving votes to the authorities," Novel told Detik today.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/212-anti-ahok-protests-led-increasing-political-intolerance-indonesia-survey-group/

Millennials prefer strong-willed, assertive presidential candidates:

Jakarta Globe - September 21, 2018

Sarah Yuniarni, Jakarta – Most Indonesian millennials plan to vote in next year's presidential election, with many indicating that they prefer candidates who are assertive and strong-willed, a survey by global market research firm Ipsos showed on Tuesday (18/09).

Around 96 percent of millennials said they will vote in the 2019 election, while about 2 percent indicated that they would not, and the rest said they had yet to decide.

The AsiaBUS survey saw Ipsos conduct random sampling among 1,009 male and female respondents between the ages of 15 and 64, with 501 of them being millennials in the age group 23-38.

The survey was held in Jakarta, Surabaya (East Java), Bandung (West Java), Medan (North Sumatra) and Makassar (South Sulawesi) on Aug. 13-26.

Aside from millennials, around 124 of the respondents were between the ages of 17 and 21, who will vote for the first time this year. The remainder are over the age of 38.

The report showed that about 92 percent of first-time voters would likely do so next year, while the remainder are still undecided.

Meanwhile, about 97 percent of older respondents said they would vote, while the remainder indicated that they plan to stay away from the polling stations next year.

The report showed that first-time voters tend to be idealistic, preferring candidates with clean track records, while millennials prefer strong-willed, assertive candidates. Older voters also tend to prefer assertive candidates, but expect them to be more religious.

"This is very encouraging to see how young Indonesians already understand their right to vote and being prepared to exercise that right. There are more interesting insights on Indonesian millennials we can share, but this is already a good start," said Suresh Ramalingam, newly appointed chief executive of Ipsos Southeast Asia.

This is the first AsiaBUS report Ipsos conducted in Indonesia. Ipsos Indonesia managing director Soeprapto Tan said the AsiaBUS report is a quarterly survey and the company plans to conduct a follow-up survey with regards to millennial voters next month.

"We plan to do the survey quarterly until next year; maybe several months before the election takes place," Soeprapto said.

France-based Ipsos is a global market research and consulting firm focusing on several areas, including media and advertising, opinion and social issues and employee relationship management.

Ipsos is widely known in the United States and Europe, as it regularly conducts social and political research on presidential campaigns, gender equality issues and social phenomena.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesian-millennials-prefer-strong-willed-assertive-presidential-candidates-ipsos-survey/

Environment & natural disasters

Greenpeace 'occupies' Indonesia palm oil plant with rock band

Agence France Presse - September 25, 2018

Greenpeace activists have scaled an Indonesian palm oil refinery with a popular rock band who played some of their pro-environment songs from the top of the structure, it said Tuesday, protesting a commodity found in everything from soap to biscuits.

The green group said 30 activists – including several foreigners – and Indonesian metal group Boomerang were "occupying" the site in Sulawesi island to draw attention to widespread environmental destruction caused by planting the widely used edible oil.

They painted "Dirty" in large letters and dropped a banner that read "Drop Dirty Palm Oil Now" on storage tanks owned by Singapore-listed Wilmar International, the world's biggest palm oil trader which supplies major brands including Colgate, Nestle and Unilever, it said.

One group of activists also climbed the anchor chain of a tanker ship transporting palm oil and are preventing it from moving, according to the group.

Meanwhile, Boomerang – which got its start in the mid-nineties and whose new music focuses on conservation – performed at the top of the refinery tanks.

Greenpeace has accused Singapore-listed Wilmar of still being linked to deforestation in Indonesia – the world's biggest palm oil exporter – despite committing five years ago to stop logging the Southeast Asian archipelago's vast tracts of jungle.

"This refinery is loaded with Wilmar's dirty palm oil and if we weren't here it would be on its way to factories and supermarkets all over the world," Greenpeace said.

Wilmar did not immediately comment on the protest. Last week, Indonesia's president signed a three-year moratorium on all new palm oil plantation development in the country.

Source: https://www.afp.com/en/news/2265/greenpeace-occupies-indonesia-palm-oil-plant-rock-band-doc-19e5vw1

Indonesia activists abseil down refinery tanks to protest deforestation

Reuters - September 25, 2018

Jakarta – Environmentalists on Tuesday abseiled down storage tanks and unfurled banners at a palm-oil refinery in Indonesia to protest the deforestation of the country's tropical forests.

They draped banners saying "Drop dirty palm oil now", while other activists clung to the anchor of a cargo ship near the facility, operated by a unit of Singapore's Wilmar International, the world's biggest palm oil trader.

A spokeswoman for the refinery operator, PT Multi Nabati Sulawesi, said operations at the facility in northern Sulawesi were not affected. "They are there illegally so we plan to report them to the police," she told Reuters. Wilmar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The 30 activists, including 23 members of the environmental campaigner Greenpeace, planned to stay at the facility until 1000 GMT, said Kiki Taufik, head of the Greenpeace forests campaign in Indonesia.

The demonstration is unusual in the Southeast Asian nation where most protests take the form of marches or rallies.

"We need to do this without a permit, but we take the risk because we believe this action will make the companies and the public hear us," Taufik said by mobile phone from a rubber dinghy circling the cargo ship moored near the refinery.

Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, an edible oil used in everything from chocolate to shampoo. Concerns about the amount of forests and peat lands cleared for plantations have plagued the palm oil industry for years.

The president's office last week issued a moratorium on new permits for palm plantations for three years in what it said was part of an effort to protect forests.

Environmentalists have increased pressure on companies and governments in Indonesia and Malaysia to "clean up" their supply chains and put an end to deforestation.

"If we don't hold companies accountable, the environment will continue to face a threat from industry," Taufik said. (Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/indonesia-greenpeace-protests/indonesia-activists-abseil-down-refinery-tanks-to-protest-deforestation-idUSL4N1WB16B?rpc=401&

12 Greenpeace activists arrested following palm oil refinery protest

InfoA1.id - September 25, 2018

Bitung – Twelve activists have been arrested following a peaceful action by Greenpeace activists and four members of the band Boomerang who occupied a palm oil supply ship and refinery in Bitung, North Sulawesi operated by a unit of Singapore's Wilmar International.

To foreign activists meanwhile, Kat Woskett from Australia and Farhan Nasa from Malaysia, were detained by the local immigration office.

According to a Greenpeace source, 12 people were arrested by the Bitung district police. There are currently being questioned in relation to the action which was part of the Global Forestry Campaign for Indonesia in Bitung on Tuesday September 25.

The action began at around 4am and ended at around 6pm local time. Based on information obtained by InfoA1.id from Kat Woskett and Farhan Nasa, there is a possibility that they will be deported by the Bitung immigration office.

During the action, two photo journalists from the Antara state news agency and InfoA1.id followed the protest action through to the end. Both journalists were arrested by Bitung police but release a short time later. (SR)


For a more complete report on the protest itself see the Reuters article "Indonesia activists abseil down refinery tanks to protest deforestation" (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-greenpeace-protests/indonesian-activists-abseil-down-palm-refinery-tanks-in-deforestation-protest-idUSKCN1M51EU).

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "12 Aktivis Greenpeace Diamankan Polres Bitung".]

Source: http://infoa1.id/index.php/2018/09/25/12-aktivis-greenpeace-diamankan-kepolisian-polres-bitung/

Garut residents protest leather tanning industry over river pollution

Jakarta Post - September 22, 2018

Jakarta – Residents of Sumbersari village in Garut, West Java, held a rally to protest against leather-tanning factories that dumped untreated wastewater into the Ciwalen River in Sukaregang, a leather-crafting hub, on Friday.

During the rally, the protesters dumped a container of solid waste onto a street and poured water from the Ciwalen River onto it, which emitted unpleasant odors.

The protesters also blocked the factories' wastewater sewer with sacks so that the factories could no longer dump wastewater into the river.

Bengbeng, who organized the protest, said residents living in the vicinity of the Ciwalen River had long complained about unpleasant odors coming from the river. He demanded that the local government close factories that polluted the river.

Garut Kota district head Bambang Hafid said his side would hold a mediation meeting between the protesters and leather-tanning businesspeople.

Garut Environment, Hygiene and Park Agency secretary Guriansyah said only one out of 54 leather-tanning factories, which have large tanning machines, had its own wastewater treatment plant.

"The number of houses that run home-scale leather tanning [operations], meanwhile, is more than 300," he said as quoted by kompas.com. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/22/garut-residents-protest-leather-tanning-industry-over-river-pollution.html

Groups welcome Jokowi's palm plantation moratorium

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – Environmental groups welcomed President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's instruction to halt the issuing of permits for palm plantations, calling it a long-awaited step towards sustainability.

However, they raised several concerns. The Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) said in a statement on Thursday that it welcomed Presidential Instruction No. 8/2018, which "had been on the President's desk for a long time".

"This is a good initial step towards revamping natural resource management, especially the palm plantation sector," the group added.

The President ordered a review of the existing permits amid deforestation concerns, said Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, an official from the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister, on Thursday.

"From ministries to regents, [they all] have been ordered to review the forest permits for [palm oil] plantations."

Greenpeace Indonesia, which released a report on deforestation caused by palm plantations on Wednesday, welcomed the instruction, although it was quick to note that a presidential instruction would not be enough.

Arie Rompas, a Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaign team leader, told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that a presidential instruction would not carry any weight and therefore the subjects of the instruction could just ignore it.

Jokowi had promised to issue the moratorium since April 2016 and environmental groups had been waiting for it since then.

Walhi had sent a policy paper, suggesting a 25-year moratorium because "environmental rehabilitation needs a long time". The instruction, however, would only be effective for "a maximum of three years since the date of the release", which is Sept. 19.

The instruction, entitled Postponement and Evaluation of Palm Plantation Permits and Increasing Productivity of Palm Plantations, ordered five ministries, the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), governors, regents and mayors to halt new permits, evaluate the existing permits and increase the productivity of palm plantations.

The rationale behind the instruction is increasing sustainability, giving legal certainty, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, farmer empowerment and increasing the productivity of palms.

Environmentalists have argued that increasing the productivity of plantations on existing fields would prevent the opening up of new areas.

Both Walhi and Greenpeace have urged transparency and public participation during the reviewing process.

The instruction allows the continuation of forested areas that had been turned into palm plantations before it was issued and ordered the Agriculture Ministry to make sure that 20 percent of those areas were allocated to smallholders. Greenpeace, however, said the recipients were often times not really smallholders.

Walhi closed the statement by saying the transition period should focus on "justice for the people and the environment as well as ecosystem rehabilitation".

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/20/groups-welcome-jokowis-palm-plantation-moratorium.html

Walhi rips PSI's argument for palm oil, says party 'does not understand'

Jakarta Globe - September 20, 2018

Sheany, Jakarta – Indonesia's oldest environmental advocacy group has criticized an argument in support of sustainable palm oil by one of the country's newest political parties, saying it was misleading.

The Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) uploaded a 49-second video to Facebook on how palm oil can help strengthen the rupiah. The video states that a weaker rupiah makes modern gadgets more expensive, and presents palm oil as a viable solution to strengthening the currency.

"In our view, the PSI fails to understand the fundamental problem of palm oil in Indonesia and in the global context, and they are even more disconnected with their argument that palm oil can help stabilize the currency," the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) said in a statement on Monday (17/09).

The video, which had attracted more than 107,000 views by Wednesday, has sparked heated debate on various social media platforms.

In response, the PSI issued a clarifying statement saying that the focus of the video was on efforts to stabilize the rupiah, such as boosting exports.

"But what developed later was an accusation that the PSI supports a palm oil industry that is damaging the environment. Once again, the real focus of our argument is actually not on palm oil. That is why we call this policy only a temporary solution," the political party said.

The party also highlighted its support for sustainable palm oil and emphasized that it opposes unsustainable practices in the industry.

"The fact is, our economy is still dependent on palm oil. In 2017, this industry contributed $23 million in foreign exchange... In the post-oil and gas era, palm oil is the leading industry after tourism," the PSI said.

However, Walhi said both the video and the clarifying statement show a lack of understanding. "We want to emphasize that palm oil as the main supporting commodity of our economy is a myth, and there is no such thing as sustainable palm oil," Walhi said, adding that the PSI's argument was both weak and incomplete.

The forum listed several points, including how losses and environmental costs from extractive industries such as palm oil result in state losses, as stated by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

"State losses from forest and land fires, which amounted to Rp 200 trillion [$13.4 million] in 2015, show that land-based investment, such as palm oil, is detrimental to the country," Walhi said.

The forum added that palm oil plantations in the country have negatively impacted the rights and lives of Indonesians and marginalized communities, as well as the environment.

"As a new political party, the PSI should be able to come up with new, hopeful ideas for the future survival of the planet and humanity, for generations to come. Instead, it proposed outdated and weak economic models like palm oil," Walhi said.

Walhi, established in 1980, is the largest environmental advocacy group in Indonesia. It is also part of the Friends of the Earth International network.

Source: http://jakartaglobe.id/news/walhi-rips-psis-argument-for-palm-oil-says-party-does-not-understand-the-issue/

Health & education

MUI chairman Ma'ruf Amin says MR vaccines are mandatory amid haram

Coconuts Jakarta - September 19, 2018

Fresh off announcing yesterday that he never really left his post as chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) after being named President Joko Widodo's running mate, Ma'ruf Amin attended a discussion for the ongoing measles-rubella (MR) vaccination haram paranoia and said something his organization should have said a long time ago: that immunizations should be mandatory.

At the discussion, which was held in Jakarta yesterday afternoon and attended by Ma'ruf himself and Health Minister Nila Moeloek, the senior Islamic scholar clarified the importance of the government's MR vaccination drive despite MUI having previously announced that the the vaccine contained trace amounts of pork by-products, which are haram (forbidden) for consumption by Muslims.

"If there is a present danger, risk of disease or birth defects, then this immunization is not only permissible, it's also wajib," Ma'ruf said, using an Islamic term for something that is mandatory to perform and sinful if neglected, as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Ma'ruf added that an exemption to consume haram products if necessary was issued in a fatwa (religious edict) in 2016 in which MUI ruled that vaccines, halal or otherwise, can be administered to children who would otherwise get sick.

Despite the existence of said fatwa, however, MUI still demanded to examine the MR vaccine for potential haram content this year, delaying the government's massive nationwide vaccination drive and stoking anti-vaccine fears across the archipelago. Even after the MUI issued another fatwa specifically allowing the MR vaccine in late August, the paranoia surrounding the vaccine had already greatly slowed down the the program.

According to the government officials, only 43 percent of the targeted 32 million children have been given the MR vaccine as of last week, far below the government's target of 95 percent they should have achieved by that point. Officials say health workers around Indonesia have even been threatened with physical violence by unwilling parents, some of whom carried machetes.

Ma'ruf tried to shield MUI from blame for the MR vaccine controversy, saying that the government should have sought a fatwa by MUI for the vaccine before deciding to carry out a nationwide drive (again, this is despite the existence of the 2016 fatwa which should rule the MR vaccine permissible for consumption by Muslims).

"Unfortunately the Health Ministry did not immediately ask for a fatwa for the vaccine. So they only asked for it in 2018," he said.

Doctors have warned that areas of the country like Aceh, which has only had 7% of children targeted by the latest vaccination drive immunized, could experience an "MR tsunami". The government is already warning that if the immunization program fails, the country could soon face an epidemic of the disease.

This is not the first time MUI's concerns about halal certification have endangered the health of the country's children. Late last year, Indonesia was experiencing what doctors called an "extraordinary" outbreak of diphtheria that killed dozens, mostly for young children. The government undertook a massive immunization program aimed at giving millions of children the diphtheria vaccine, but MUI made headlines across the country saying they had not certified the vaccine halal, claiming that it had never been submitted to them for testing either.

MUI has long been accused of using their halal certification authority as a lucrative money making scheme. Last year, the government enacted legislation that would transfer final authority over halal certification to them in 2019, though MUI would still play a major role in the certification process. Also, the government promised the certification process would be free, unlike in the past.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-ulema-council-chairman-maruf-amin-says-mr-vaccines-mandatory-amid-haram-paranoia/

Tertiary education & campus life

Minister bans students to engage practical politics on campus

Tempo - September 18, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Minister of Research, Technology and Higher Education Mohamad Nasir reminded the students throughout Indonesia not to engage in practical political activities on campus.

"Politics is outside the campus. If they want to do politics, please leave the campus. The campus must be free from political practice activities," Nasir said, at the State University of Malang (UM), Monday, September 17.

His party is not reluctant to give strict sanctions to state universities (PTN) that are proven to have practiced practical political activities on campus. For the private universities (PTS), the reprimands will be given through Private Higher Education Coordination (Kopertis).

Nasir stated that for the students who want to protest against policies that are deemed inappropriate, they are expected to be able to think more clearly in seeing a problem.

According to him, the students must participate in thinking about the problems faced by the country, as well as helping in finding solutions.

"Students have to think more clearly, I'm happy that students think about nationality. But, don't let the students be ridden by political interests," Nasir said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/18/055921737/Minister-Bans-Students-to-Engage-Practical-Politics-on-Campus

LGBT & same-sex marriage

Rizieq Shihab says if you want LGBT banned and 'pribumi' to be

Coconuts Jakarta - September 18, 2018

After presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto signed an "integrity pact" for an Islamic hardliner political group on Sunday promising that, if he won, he would protect their interests in general and specifically that he would ensure the safe return of Rizieq Shihab, the fugitive founder of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the controversial firebrand clerical wasted no time in taking to his social media account to post messages supporting Prabowo's ticket featuring his usual flair for hateful rhetoric.

Mau Penista Agama dihukum? Mau LGBT & ma'siat dilarang? Mau korupsi dibasmi?#2019GantiPresiden pic.twitter.com/atPSdTr1a7 – ???? ????? ??? ???? (@RizieqSyihabFPI) September 16, 2018

Rizieq's official Twitter account posted a dozen of these memes telling his supporters that if they want to fulfill his particular vision for Indonesia, they should vote for Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno. The one above says "Want religious blasphemers to be punished? Want LGBT and immorality to be banned? Want corruption to be destroyed?" followed by the hashtag #2019GantiPresiden (#2019ReplaceThePresident) representing the controversial opposition movement. The image includes the words "Choose Prabowo-Sandiaga" along with the candidates pictures.

Mau Pribumi jaya di Negeri sendiri? Mau Rakyat Miskin dilindungi? Mau Wong Cilik disejahterakan?#2019GantiPresiden pic.twitter.com/YCzGhl6TGf – ???? ????? ??? ???? (@RizieqSyihabFPI) September 16, 2018

Another of the memes posted to his account yesterday says, "Want Pribumi [a controversial term for "native" Indonesians] to be prosperous in their own country? Want the poor to be protected? Want the little people to be well-off?"

Also among the questions asked in the ten other memes Rizieq posted by yesterday are "Want PKI [the long defunct Indonesian Communist Party] and LIBERAL to be banned?", "Want education and health guaranteed?" (a pretty socialist sentiment for somebody so anti-communist...), "Want a country without high taxes?", "Want a country not sold to foreigners" and "Want Islamic Sharia not to be harassed?"

Now to be fair, not all of these questions are representative of actual statements made by Prabowo or Sandiaga. For example, they have not taken any official position on the controversial issue of whether homosexuality should be made illegal (something many Indonesians do support).

Prabowo-Sandi layak didukung & dipilih. Ayo... Rapatkan semua barisan & satukan segala potensi untuk mengganti Presiden 2019 dgn pilihan Ulama & Umat Islam. Semoga menang & berkah.#2019GantiPresiden HRS pic.twitter.com/GmnYCXAhJT – ???? ????? ??? ???? (@RizieqSyihabFPI) September 17, 2018

But Prabowo did sign the "integrity pact" with GNPF (the National Movement to Guard the Ulama Fatwa, a hardliner-affiliated political group originally started to organize the massive protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama after a fatwa decreed he had committed blasphemy against Islam) in order to secure the support of Rizieq and his fellow Islamists who proved to be instrumental in Ahok's defeat in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial race and who Prabowo no doubt hopes can help him in the uphill battle he now faces against incumbent President Joko Widodo and his running mate, Indonesian Ulema Council head Ma'ruf Amin (who, we must note, has also expressed his support for criminalizing homosexuality but also said LGBT should not be discriminated against).

So by allowing Rizieq to clearly tie voting for Prabowo-Sandiaga with support for these statements, their campaign is essentially endorsing all of them (as if putting their photos on there didn't make that clear enough). If they don't agree with any them, they should be specifically and vocally denounced.

Rizieq is currently still in Saudi Arabia, where he has spent more than a year hiding from Indonesian law enforcement. Although police dropped his suspect status in the infamous pornography case that first led him to flee and stay out of his country, the FPI leader still has numerous legal cases at various stages pending against him including charges of blasphemy against Christianity and state symbols.

The "integrity pact" Prabowo signed for GNPF on Sunday said he would commit to "using the constitutional and attributive rights inherent in the position of president to carry out the rehabilitation process, ensure the safe return, and restore the rights of Habib Rizieq Shihab as an Indonesian citizen."

The head of Indonesia's national police said that even if Prabowo won the election, as president he did not have the power to intervene in specific legal cases, including Rizieq's (perhaps that was what Prabowo was counting on).

Many thought that President Joko Widodo's choice of Ma'ruf, the head of the country's highest Islamic clerical body and the person who signed the blasphemy fatwa against Ahok that gave GNPF its name, would make voter mobilization via Islamic hardliners an unviable strategy for Prabowo. While that remains to be seen, obviously Prabowo believes it's still worth cozying up to groups like GNPF, FPI and the like despite the fact he has made clear he is not an Islamist himself.

But just as he distanced himself from musician Ahmad Dhani during the 2014 election after the former Indonesia Idol judge made a music video supporting him in which he wore a Nazi uniform, we hope Prabowo will have the good sense to at least distance himself from Rizieq's hateful rhetoric, lest this election also devolve into a divisive battle filled with attacks on religion and race.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/fpi-leader-rizieq-shihab-says-want-lgbt-banned-pribumi-prosperous-vote-prabowo-sandiaga/

Corruption & abuse of power

Ex-Indonesian bank bailout agency chief gets 13 years

Jakarta Post - September 24, 2018

Jakarta – The Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced Syafruddin Tumenggung, the former head of the Indonesian bank bailout agency that led the country out of the 1998 financial crisis, to 13 years in prison on Monday for manipulating a commercial bank's credit status.

Syafruddin, the former chairman of the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA), was found guilty of issuing a letter in 2004 for Sjamsul Nursalim, the owner of Bank Dagang Negara Indonesia (BDNI), freeing him from repaying a debt owed to the government and thereby causing Rp 4.58 trillion (US$308 million) in state losses.

"The defendant is ordered to pay Rp 700 million in fines or face an additional three months in prison," said presiding judge Yanto as he read out the verdict. Syafruddin has stated that he will file an appeal.

The case dated back to the 1998 Asian financial crisis when BDNI received Rp 28 trillion in Bank Indonesia liquidity support (BLBI) funds, which were disbursed by the government through the central bank to help them cope with massive runs during the crisis.

It was later found that 95 percent of the Rp 144.5 trillion of BLBI funds disbursed to 48 commercial banks, including BDNI, had been embezzled.

During the trial, it was revealed that Syafruddin, who was appointed IBRA chairman in 2002, sent a letter to then-coordinating economic minister and Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK) chairman Dorodjatun Kuntjoro-Jakti in February 2004 recommending the KSSK write off some of Sjamsul's debt, claiming the decision was based on a Cabinet meeting led by then-president Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Dorojatun later issued a KKSK decree in accordance with Syafruddin's recommendation, while in fact, the two officials, who had attended the Cabinet meeting, knew that the meeting had never concluded or approved the writing off of the debts, according to prosecutors.

Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors also found that Syafruddin had cooperated with Sjamsul and his wife, Itjih S Nursalim, as well as Dorodjatun in the graft case.

The sentence is lighter than that sought by the KPK prosecutors of 15 years in prison and Rp 1 billion in fines. (sau)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/24/breaking-ex-indonesian-bank-bailout-agency-chief-gets-13-years.html

38 ex-graft convicts run in 2019 poll

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Kharishar Kahfi, Jakarta – Voters, be mindful: of more than 200,000 candidates running for legislative seats at the regional level next year, 38 have been convicted of corruption.

After months of legal debate, the General Elections Commission (KPU) decided on Thursday that the 38 politicians who had challenged their disqualification at the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) would be on the ballots next April.

The poll body has chosen to abide by a Supreme Court's ruling that annulled a KPU regulation to prohibit people convicted of graft, sexual assault and drug abuse from taking part in the election. According to the KPU, 7,968 people are running for legislative seats at the House of Representatives, and 807 for the Regional Representatives Council (DPD). It did not release the total number of people running for seats on regional legislative councils (DPRD), but is believed to exceed 200,000.

According to the KPU, 12 ex-graft convicts are aiming for a spot in provincial councils, while 26 others are running for city and regional council seats.

Gerindra Party tops the list with six graft-tainted candidates, one of whom is Muhammad Taufik, who was sentenced to 18 months behind bars in 2004 in a graft case related to the procurement of election materials.

Taufik is running for a legislative seat in the Jakarta Council next year while also trying to get the Jakarta deputy gubernatorial post that was left vacant by Sandiaga Uno.

Meanwhile, three former graft convicts are on the list of DPD candidates, including former Aceh governor Abdullah Puteh, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for corruption related to the procurement of two helicopters for the provincial administration in 2005.

"We only accommodate candidates submitting challenges to Bawaslu," KPU commissioner Ilham Saputra said on Thursday.

A number of ex-graft convicts challenged the KPU's earlier decision to exclude their names from a temporary candidate list for Bawaslu, which later gave the green light for several candidates to run in the election.

Ilham added that a circular had been distributed on Wednesday to regional and local election commissions on how to respond to the Supreme Court's ruling annulling the KPU's ban, which was meant to boost the nation's antigraft drive.

The court argued that the ban contradicted the 2017 Elections Law. It also referred to the Constitutional Court's past rulings that allowed ex-graft convicts to run as legislative candidates, as long as they announced their record to the public.

Meanwhile, the KPU's list reveals that there are no graft-tainted candidates participating in the race for House seats.

Ilham said this was because political parties had been unable to replace their candidates.

"These parties tried to replace the ex-corruption convicts with other names from other electoral districts, but we couldn't grant their request as prevailing regulations won't allow it. Therefore, we just crossed their names off the list."

The founder of election watchdog Netgrit and former KPU commissioner Hadar Nafis Gumay lamented that the KPU had not actively reminded political parties to strike the names of former graft convicts from their candidates lists.

"The KPU should give parties the opportunity should they want to withdraw any graft-tainted candidates," he said.

While activists and election watchdogs had been urging the KPU to mark the names of former convicts on ballot papers as a way to inform voters, Ilham said this would be impossible as the ballots had already been designed.

"Alternatively, we can mark them [in the lists placed] at polling stations. However, we have to discuss that first."

Gerindra deputy chairman Fadli Zon said the party "won't disqualify former graft convicts from our candidates list". "We support the KPU's antigraft spirit, but we also don't want to harm our cadres' political rights," he added.

The KPU has also announced that incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and running mate Ma'ruf Amin, and Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno had fulfilled their requirements as presidential candidate pairs. Both pairs will go to the KPU office on Friday to draw their ballot numbers for the presidential election.

List of former graft convicts running in 2019 polls:

Gerindra Party

Hanura Party

Golkar Party

Berkarya Party

National Mandate Party

Democratic Party

NasDem Party

United Indonesia Party (Perindo)

Indonesian Justice and Unity Party (PKPI)

Garuda Party

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P)

Prosperous Justice Party (PKS)

Crescent Star Party (PBB)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/21/38-ex-graft-convicts-run-2019-poll-election.html

Payment of 'uang ketok palu' is tradition, councilors admit to

Jakarta Post - September 18, 2018

Jakarta – In an apparent revelation about the deep-rooted nature of corruption in the country, members of the Jambi Legislative Council (DPRD) have acknowledged that receiving money from executives in the provincial administration is a "tradition".

Four DPRD Jambi members attended on Monday a hearing at the Jakarta Corruption Court as witnesses in the trial of graft suspect and non-active Jambi governor Zumi Zola Zulkifli, who stands accused of channeling Rp 16 billion (US$1.1 million) in bribes to dozens of DPRD members in order to influence the deliberations of the 2017 and 2018 provincial budgets.

During the hearing, M. Juber, a councilor from the Golkar Party, and three others admitted to having received money from the administration, which they referred to as "uang ketok palu" (money for banging the gavel), to pass a decision, kompas.com has reported.

"The [payment of] money is a tradition," Juber told Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) prosecutors during the hearing.

Juber said councilors would ask the executive for the money regardless of who was governor at the time. The money was given in return for the council passing the budget proposed by the Jambi provincial administration.

Similarly, councilor Mayloedin from the Golkar Party said the term uang ketok palu had been around since 2009, however, it had never been a problem until the KPK launched its investigations in Jambi in 2017.

"[The payments] are like water and flowed smoothly. The storm only arose in 2018," said Mayloedin, who also admitted to receiving money from Zumi related to budget deliberations.

KPK prosecutors have previously claimed that Zumi channeled the alleged bribes through a middleman, Apif Firmansyah, who was Zumi's treasurer during his gubernatorial campaign.

In addition to the alleged bribery, Zumi has also been accused of accepting unlawful gifts amounting to more than Rp 40 billion in connection to infrastructure projects in Jambi from 2016 to 2017. (afr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/18/payment-of-uang-ketok-palu-is-tradition-councilors-admit-to-corruption-court.html

Hard-line & vigilante groups

Police: Prabowo cannot intervene in Rizieq Shihab case

Tempo - September 18, 2018

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo asserted that presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto could not intervene in the police's investigation into the case of Rizieq Shihab even if he was elected as president.

Dedi Prasetyo made this statement following rumors that Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno would be pressed into exercising their constitutional rights to bring home Rizieq Shihab as mentioned in the 16th point of the Itjima ulama II meeting.

"The president has always stated that legal proceedings will be handled by the authorities. It is untrue that there will be any intervention. It depends on how the legal proceedings are run," said Dedi at the National Police headquarters today.

Earlier reports said Prabowo and members of the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF) inked an integrity pact following the group's second meeting held on Sunday, September 16.

The integrity pact states that Prabowo Subianto will have to be ready to exercise his constitutional rights as president to rehabilitate, guarantee Rizieq's travel home, and recover Rizieq's rights as an Indonesian citizen.

Rizieq is known to have fled to Saudi Arabia after being incriminated in a pornography-related criminal case, which was recently dropped by the police for lack of evidence.

"The follow up [on Rizieq Shihab's case] will be announced by the head of the criminal investigation agency (Bareskrim)," said Dedi said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/17/055921718/Police-Prabowo-Cannot-Intervene-in-Rizieq-Shihab-Case

Prabowo pledges to let Rizieq Shihab return safely to Indonesia if he

Coconuts Jakarta - September 17, 2018

Hope that divisive religious issues will not play a major role in Indonesia's 2019 presidential election is dimming after opposition candidate Prabowo Subianto signed an "integrity pact" from a Islamic hardliner political group promising he would protect their interests and assure the safe return of one of the country's most controversial religious figures should he win in April.

Yesterday, the Gerindra chairman attended the second Ijtima Ulama conference held by the National Movement to Guard the Ulama Fatwa (GNPF), a hardliner-affiliated political group originally started to organize the massive protests against former Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama after a fatwa decreed he had committed blasphemy against Islam.

Since GNPF's protests helped defeat Ahok in the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election, the group has tried to exert more political influence and, during their first Ijtima Ulama conference in July, they recommended that Prabowo chose a religious figure as his vice president, with their first choice being Rizieq Shihab, the fugitive firebrand cleric and founder of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).

Obviously, Prabowo did not go with any of GNPF's recommendations, instead choosing former Jakarta vice governor and entrepreneur Sandiaga Uno in a surprise pick (one allegedly influenced by Sandiaga's immense wealth). Despite being spurned, GNPF said they would still support the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket as long as they committed to the "integrity pact" Prabowo signed at yesterday's event.

"I, on behalf of presidential and vice-presidential candidates Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno, thank the second Ijtimak Ulama of the GNPF-Ulama for their trust in us, for their support, which is so sincerely given. This is really moving for me," Prabowo said at the event as quoted by Detik. (Sandiaga, however, did not make an appearance at the conference.)

Out of the 17 points in the pact signed by Prabowo, most of them are vague promises about upholding the constitution, the state ideology of Pancasila, protecting the sanctity of Islam etc (#13 is a promise to "guarantee a decent life for every citizen to be able to realize their food, sovereignty, clothing and housing needs", which sounds like a fairly socialist sentiment considering the group's fiery anti-communist rhetoric).

But it's point #16 of the pact that is by far the most specific and controversial. It says in part that if he wins, Prabowo would commit to "using the constitutional and attributive rights inherent in the position of president to carry out the rehabilitation process, ensure the safe return, and restore the rights of Habib Rizieq Shihab as an Indonesian citizen."

Rizieq is currently still in Saudi Arabia, where he has spent more than a year hiding from Indonesian law enforcement. Although police dropped his suspect status in the infamous pornography case that first led him to flee and stay out of his country, the FPI leader still has numerous legal cases at various stages pending against him including charges of blasphemy against Christianity and state symbols.

Many thought that President Joko Widodo's choice of Ma'ruf Amin, the currently non-active head of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the person who signed the blasphemy fatwa against Ahok that gave GNPF its name, would make voter mobilization via Islamic hardliners an unviable strategy for Prabowo. While that remains to be seen, obviously Prabowo believes it's still worth cozying up to these groups.

And to be fair, even the ruling PDI-P party of President Jokowi made overtures in that direction, with one party officials even going so far as to say they would be willing to accept Rizieq's support for the incumbent with Ma'ruf acting as a bridge.

So while we'll have to wait and see to find out how much religious issues will play into this election, at least we know that Rizieq Shihab likely won't be coming back to Indonesia until at least after the election.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/prabowo-pledges-let-fpi-leader-rizieq-shihab-return-safely-indonesia-wins-election/

Religion & politics

Jokowi's campaign to offer more Muslim-friendly programs

Tempo - September 25, 2018

Syafiul Hadi, Jakarta – The Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team deputy chairman Arsul Sani revealed that the presidential and vice presidential hopefuls will present several programs that will closely reach the Muslim community.

Arsul Sani added that Jokowi and Maruf's program will not be too far apart from that of the 2014 election. "Jokowi is considered to be less-cordial toward the Muslim community. Therefore, we have two specific programs to prove that the assumption isn't true," he said in Jakarta, on Monday, September 24.

The first Muslim-friendly program will focus on strengthening the community's economy which will continue the running program such as waqf (charitable) banks at mosques.

The second program according to Arsul is the strengthening of religious-based academic institutions and Islamic boarding school. It would mostly be done by allocating significant funding for Indonesia's Islamic institutions.

He further explained that the United Development Party (PPP) and the National Awakening Party (PKB) are currently in the midst of initiating the draft law at the House of Representatives (DPR).

"It will be the basis of initiating the program in this period or the next period if Pak Jokowi is elected to his second term," said Arsul.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/25/055921958/Jokowis-Campaign-to-Offer-More-Muslim-friendly-Programs

Lots of ulemas show interest in joining Prabowo-Sandiaga team

Tempo - September 19, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Presidential and vice presidential hopefuls Prabowo Subianto – Sandiaga Uno have yet to configure the final structure of its campaign team on Tuesday evening. One factor hampering them from completing it is the large number of ulemas that showed interest in joining the pair.

"Yes, one of the factors is related to the interests shown by a large number of ulemas, habibs, and Islamic boarding school leaders that want to join the team, which is why we are not able to finalize it tonight," said Gerindra Party Secretary General Ahmad Muzani.

He further explained that the meeting will be continued today on Wednesday to comply with the deadline set by the General Elections Committee (KPU).

"We will be handing over the draft of the campaign team's structure to the KPU on September 20," he said. Ahmad went as far to claim that; "The team will comprise of hundreds of people."

Despite the number of adjustments needed to be applied to the campaign team, Ahmad said that the political party coalition has agreed on appointing Gerindra executive board Djoko Santoso as the team's Head.

The meeting tonight will be attended by public figures affiliated to the '212 alumni group' and activist of the social media hashtag #2019GantiPresiden Neno Warisman, known as a group that demands a change of presidency in 2019.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/19/055921764/Lots-of-Ulemas-Show-Interest-in-Joining-Prabowo-Sandiaga-Team

Prabowo gets clerics' support? Jokowi has 'grand kyai' behind him:

Jakarta Post - September 18, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's running mate in the 2019 election, Muslim cleric Ma'ruf Amin, has responded to a recent gathering of clerics and Muslim activists who declared support for presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.

Grouped under the National Movement to Safeguard Fatwas (GNPF), the clerics and activists held their second congregation, called Ijtima Ulama II, in Jakarta on Sunday, during which Prabowo signed an "integrity pact", committing to religion and mullah protection.

Ma'ruf Amin, the chief of Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), was a key person in the GNPF and his picture was on the posters of GNPF during the "defend Islam rallies" against Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama in late 2016.

"For us [in Jokowi's coalition] there is no problem with Ijtima Ulama," Ma'ruf told reporters after attending a meeting with the Jokowi-Ma'ruf campaign team on Monday.

Although the Ijtima Ulema claims to representing clerics, Ma'ruf, who is also the supreme leader of Indonesia's largest Islamic organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), questioned who the clerics were and which pesantren (Islamic boarding school) they represented or were affiliated with.

Ma'ruf said that 400 grand kyai (Muslim elders) and leaders of pesantren across the country, including senior NU cleric Abuya Muhtadi from Banten, West Java, gathered in Jakarta on Saturday last week and declared their support for Jokowi-Ma'ruf in the 2019 election.

"We consider [support from pesantren] more significant," Ma'ruf said, "So for us, Ijtima Ulama II will not have any impact."

Ma'ruf further brushed off concerns that the issue would create a division between Muslim leaders in the country, saying it was the clerics decision whether to take sides. "We feel at ease because grand kyai support Jokowi and Ma'ruf Amin, so [we are] very happy," Ma'ruf went on to say. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/18/prabowo-gets-clerics-support-jokowi-has-grand-kyai-behind-him-maruf.html

Rizieq suggests campaign in mosque, Sandiaga: We follow rules

Tempo - September 17, 2018

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – Sandiaga Uno, a future vice presidential candidate, pledged to follow the rules and conditions regarding the campaign for 2019 presidential election. According to Sandiaga, the technical matter for the campaign had been regulated.

"We will follow whatever the rules and conditions," said Sandiaga Uno when met in the workshop of National Mandate Party (PAN) in Grand Paragon Hotel, West Jakarta, Sunday, September 16.

Sandiaga made the statement when asked about the suggestion to do campaign delivered from the mosque pulpit as suggested by the Islamic Defender Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab during a teleconference in Ulema Ijtima II meeting on Sunday, September 16.

In the meeting held by the Ulemas National Movement to Safeguard Ulema's Fatwa (GNPF), Rizieq appealed to the Ijtima members to utilize mosque as a means of the campaign for Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno in the presidential race next year.

"Please use Islamic boarding school (pesantren), majlis, and mosque pulpit as a means to do campaign for Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno," said Rizieq in the teleconference.

Rather than accepting or declining the recommendation, Sandiaga Uno averted the issue to the peaceful campaign. The former Jakarta deputy governor had many times delivered his desires on peaceful campaign in 2019 election.

Earlier, in Al-Jihad mosque, Sunday, September 16, Sandiaga attempted to encourage a conducive situation during the campaign period. He then asked the public support to focus on improving development and economic recovery.

The issue on economy and development was first brought up by Prabowo-Sandiaga pair before the incumbent candidate Joko Widodo – Ma'ruf Amin. Sandiaga Uno planned to enhance the job opportunities and stabilize the prices.

"Whenever we have a discussion, either in mosque pulpit or political campaign, we have to concern on the economic issue," Sandiaga Uno underlined.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/17/055921703/Rizieq-Suggests-Campaign-in-Mosque-Sandiaga-We-Follow-Rules

Prabowo-Sandiaga signs pact with GNPF, promises to uphold religious

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2018

Jakarta – Presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto signed on Sunday an "integrity pact" with ulemas and Muslim activists united under the National Movement to Safeguard the Ulema Fatwa (GNPF) with several promises including to uphold religious values, paying attention to "religious people's interests", protecting the nation's resources and guaranteeing the return of cleric Rizieq Shihab, who is out of the country right now.

"On behalf of the Prabowo-Sandiaga ticket, I thank the ulemas for their sincere trust and support," said Prabowo in a live video aired on the Facebook account of Zulkifli Hasan, the National Mandate Party (PAN) chairman, on Sunday afternoon.

In return, the GNPF vowed to support Prabowo and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.

Earlier GNPF representative Eggi Sudjana said the pair was set to sign an integrity pact in their effort to "protect" ulemas across the country during their second congregation, called Ijtima Ulama II, in Central Jakarta on Sunday.

"The highlight of the second congregation is the signing of the integrity pact," Eggi said as quoted by tempo.co. He added that the current government under the leadership of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made no effort to protect Islam and ulemas.

For instant, Eggi said, the government had permitted the harassment of Neno Warisman. Neno, an opposition activist with the #2019ChangePresident campaign who is regarded as an ulema, has been banned from attending #2019ChangePresident events in several regions.

"Because the current government has failed to protect our religion and ulemas, we want the presidential candidates to commit to religion and ulema protection," Eggi said.

Separately, Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko suggested the ulema stay focused on "guiding the umma [believers]" instead of getting involved in politics. "[I am] worried about the umma, that they will get lost," Moeldoko said, as quoted by tempo.co.

In the first ulemas' meeting, the GNPF recommended names of potential vice-presidential candidates for Prabowo, none of whom were chosen. (vny)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/16/prabowo-sandiaga-signs-pact-with-gnpf-promises-to-uphold-religious-values.html

Farming & agriculture

Farmers commemorate National Farmers Day with call to end feudal land

Terkini.id - September 24, 2018

Bulukumba – Hundreds of farmers from the Bulukumba People's Struggle Front (FPR) in South Sulawesi commemorated National Farmers Day (HTN) with a protest action in front of the Bulukumba regent's office on Monday September 24.

During the demonstration the protesters held a theatrical action depicting the lives of farmers whose land is stolen by feudal landlords.

Taking turns giving speeches, the protesters called on the government not to extend the rubber plantation company PT. London Sumatra's (Lonsum) land use permit (HGU) until a new land survey is carried out and that the company not be allowed to replace rubber trees until the land dispute with local people is resolved.

In addition to this the protesters raised several other issues including challenging the agricultural input monopoly on seed, pesticides, fertilizer and agricultural tools, which they said greatly harms farmers.

They also demanded a drastic reduction in land rents, particularly for feudal produce which is unbalanced and unfair to farmers, and a reduction in the cost of basic necessities.

The protesters also rejected the local government's rezoning of the People's Forest Land management bock in Bontobahari sub-district.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Peringati HTN, Ratusan Petani Unjuk Rasa di Bulukumba".]

Source: https://makassar.terkini.id/peringati-htn-ratusan-petani-unjuk-rasa-bulukumba/

Students mark National Farmers Day with political education activities

Lentera - September 24, 2018

Rabul Sawal, Ternate – The Ternate Student Struggle Centre for National Liberation (Pembebasan) collective commemorated National Farmers Day (HTN) which falls on September 24 by organising activities at several higher education campuses in North Maluku.

At the Kieraha College of Education and Teaching (STIKIP) the activities included book stalls and handing out leaflets. At the North Maluku Muhammadiyah University students held public discussions and gave speeches. At the Ternate Campus II Kahairu University (Unkhair) meanwhile they handed out leaflets to new students taking part in information and orientation activities.

Ternate City Pembebasan collective chairperson Fandi Pomsa explained to Lentera that the campus activities held to mark HTN were intended to provide a political understanding to students who are reluctant to become involved in articulating the problems facing the nation, particularly problems related to farmers.

"Particularly farmers in North Maluku, at Galela for example they are fighting for their land rights over 2,000 hectares which has been grabbed by the company PT. KSO Capitol Casagro", said Fandi at the book stall on the STIKIP Kieraha campus on Monday.

Fandi said that the problems facing farmers are extremely urgent so that the struggle to reinvigorate farmer's fight against the tide of capitalism must continue so that Indonesian farmers, particularly in North Maluku, are conscious politically and economically.

According to Fandi, the oppression experienced by farmers is inhuman and what is being done by the government to its own people shows that the government's agrarian reform program has failed.

He also said he hopes that through the activities organised on campuses in Ternate students will become more aware and involved in the ordinary people's problems, including agrarian issues related to land conflicts between farmers and companies such as land evictions, intimidation and the violation of farmer's human rights.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Peringati HTN, Mahasiswa Gelar Beragam Kreativitas di Kampus".]

Source: https://www.malut.lentera.co.id/2018/09/24/peringati-htn-mahasiswa-gelar-beragam-kreativitas-di-kampus/

National Farmers Day rally in Jakarta slams fake agrarian reform, land

Media Rakyat Baru (MRB) - September 24, 2018

Jakarta – Protesters commemorating National Farmers Day (HTN) in Jakarta on September 24 have succeeded in holding an action in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta after an earlier demonstration was blocked by police.

The demonstrators, which included farmers, workers, urban poor, women's groups, youth and social organisations from the People's Struggle Front (FPR), held the action to demand an end to land monopolies, the cancelation of land use permits (HGU) for big plantation companies and mining concessions and the return of this land to the ordinary people, particularly agricultural labourers and poor farmers.

In addition to this they also challenged the fake agrarian reform program being carried out by the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla which strengthens the domination of big landlords, palm oil plantations, timber estates and mining companies who are the accomplices of monopoly capital or imperialism.

Earlier this morning the protesters also held an action at to convey their demands the US Embassy and the Jakarta governor's office in Central Jakarta.

Specifically they slammed the US government as the largest imperialist power in the world which reaps huge profits from the theft of ordinary people's land and infrastructure projects which result in people being evicted from their land.

"American imperialist domination, through financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank give birth to various land grab schemes. The Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla government's agrarian reform has received as much as US$200 million in financial support from the World Bank", said Dimas, the chairperson of the National Student Front (FMN) which also took part in the action.

The protests also targeted the Jakarta provincial government because it has acted as an agent in evicting ordinary people from their land in the interest of investment and projects funded by US imperialism.

One of the representatives of the West Jakarta organisation New Indonesia Youth (Pembaru), Kapuk Poglar, said that city rezoning projects, including land reclamation projects funded by the World Bank and investors from imperialist countries, have resulted in Jakarta's poor being evicted from their land without compensation.

During the rally in front of the State Palace the Agrarian Reform Movement Alliance (AGRA) specifically conveyed to the government that the ordinary Indonesian people, including farmers, reject the Jokowi-JK government's fake agrarian reform program funded by imperialism because it conflicts with the people's desire to abolish land monopolies and carry out genuine agrarian reform.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service. The original title of the report was "Sempat Dihadang Aparat, Kaum Tani, Buruh dan Organisasi Rakyat Lanjutkan Aksi di Depan Istana Negara".]

Source: https://mrb-media.com/sempat-dihadang-aparat-kaum-tani-buruh-dan-organisasi-rakyat-lanjutkan-aksi-di-depan-istana-negara/

Indigenous culture & rights

Activists say Indonesia dragging its heels on indigenous rights

Mongabay - September 20, 2018

Hans Nicholas Jong, Jakarta – Indigenous rights activists in Indonesia have expressed concern that the government is stalling the passage of a long-awaited bill on indigenous rights by tangling the legislative process in red tape.

The government said in July that it had agreed with members of the House of Representatives to start discussions on the bill on Aug. 16. But the legislative docket seen by Mongabay shows the start of those discussions has been pushed back to Sept. 27.

Still, the government says it expects the discussions to conclude by January next year, ahead of the bill's passage into law.

The bill is meant to be the follow-up to a landmark constitutional ruling in 2013 that rescinded state control over indigenous lands and gave it back to Indonesia's indigenous peoples. Since then, various laws and regulations have been issued that touch on the issue of indigenous rights to some degree, but the central bill that would tie them all together remains locked in legislative limbo.

The government proposed the initial start date for discussions on Aug. 16 with the caveat that a so-called problem inventory – a list of items that various ministries felt still needed to be ironed out – had to be compiled first.

But it still hasn't submitted the list to the House, says Luthfi Andi Mutty, the lawmaker behind the bill.

"What we'd like to discuss is the problem inventory," Luthfi told Mongabay. "And since the bill is an initiative of the House of Representatives, the problem inventory has to be made by the government."

Muhammad Arman, from the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), the main advocacy group for indigenous communities in Indonesia, said he had tried to obtain the list from the government, but to no avail.

"We've asked the government and they said the list was with the Ministry of Law and Human Rights," Arman, who heads AMAN's policy advocacy, legal and human rights department, told a press conference in Jakarta recently. "That's been the answer for the past four months. And when we've asked the ministry, no one answered."

The start of House deliberations on the indigenous rights bill is contingent on having the problem inventory ready. That, says Arman, leaves the ball squarely in the government's court.

"The problem at the moment now lies with the government, because even now the still list hasn't been submitted," Arman said. "We don't know why. But we suspect it's an attempt to ignore the rights of indigenous peoples... the government has deliberately stalled the process."

The Home Affairs Ministry, which is representing the government in discussion on the bill with the House, has already drawn up its own problem inventory, says Aferi S. Fudail, the ministry's director for village administration.

But the Office of the State Secretary, which reviews passed bills ahead of the president signing them, has ordered the Home Affairs Ministry to revise its list with input from Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

"This process is important because the problem of indigenous peoples isn't a problem for one ministry only, but it is a problem that all parties have to manage," Aferi said.

He said the government in particular needed input from the Finance Ministry regarding the allocation of funds from the state budget for indigenous peoples' empowerment. The funding issue is a key point of contention, and has been cited by the Home Affairs Ministry to argue for shelving the bill entirely.

A letter from the ministry, dated April 11, argues, among other points, that the bill is not needed, citing 16 other laws and regulations that address indigenous issues. It also said the bill would create other problems down the road, including putting unnecessary pressure on the state budget.

Proponents of the bill say that recognizing indigenous peoples' rights by passing a law dedicated specifically to that issue would not burden the government. Instead, they say, it will help the government resolve long-standing issues faced by indigenous peoples across the country stemming from land rights.

For decades, indigenous groups in Indonesia have had their land rights denied by the government in favor of large plantation and mining companies. The government is obligated to relinquish control over state forest areas that fall within indigenous lands, per the 2013 Constitutional Court ruling. But to date, the government has recognized just 18 communities' rights to their ancestral forests, covering a combined area of 164 square kilometers (63 square miles).

This is far short of the 19,000 square kilometers (7,340 square miles) of land, home to 607 indigenous communities, that AMAN calculates must be rezoned as ancestral forests.

Activists blame red tape for the glacial pace of progress, noting that only local governments can grant recognition of customary forests to indigenous communities through local bylaws. For a local administration to issue such a bylaw, it has to ensure that the indigenous people have been living in the area for a long time and that the customary land truly exists, among other conditions.

Activists say they hope the national bill, once passed, can address these bureaucratic hurdles currently hindering the recognition of customary land rights.

But until that happens, indigenous groups will continue to be at a disadvantage when fighting for their land rights against companies, according to AMAN's Arman. He said government data showed clearly that land conflicts arising from a lack of legal recognition of indigenous communities and their lands were rampant across the country.

At least 127 indigenous groups in 10 provinces are victims of criminalization from unresolved land disputes, AMAN data indicate, as their lands are taken over without their free and informed consent.

"And these conflicts have resulted in the imprisonment of 262 people," Arman said. "Some of them are still serving time in prison, while others have gotten out of prison."

There are also 1.2 million indigenous people whose lands fall within designated conservation areas and who are thus at risk of being resettled by the government, Arman added. He said the continued failure to pass the indigenous rights bill into law would lead to this very scenario; a 2017 presidential regulation clearly states that resettlement is the only way to resolve land tenure problems inside conservation areas.

'Guardians of the Forest'

Half a world away, in San Francisco, representatives of indigenous groups from Indonesia joined a protest march against climate change with their peers from the Amazon, Mesoamerica and Brazil. Together, these indigenous groups formed a coalition called the Guardians of the Forest.

The march took place on Sept. 8, days before world leaders, researchers and activists arrived in the city for the U.N.-organized Global Climate Action Summit. During the march, the indigenous communities demanded that they be recognized as a part of the solution to climate change.

Sardi Razak, who heads the AMAN chapter in Indonesia's South Sulawesi province and took part in the march, said indigenous peoples had inherited the knowledge needed to protect the climate. In the case of Indonesia, he said in a press release, the passage of the indigenous rights bill therefore would give the government an invaluable ally in the fight against climate change.

A new study released on the eve of the summit shows the crucial role that indigenous peoples play in managing the planet's climate. The study, "A Global Baseline of Carbon Storage in Collective Lands," led by Rights and Resources International (RRI), found that indigenous peoples manage nearly 300 billion metric tons of carbon stored above and below ground on their lands.

That sequestered carbon, the study found, is equal to 33 years' worth of worldwide emissions, given a 2017 baseline.

The authors note that deforestation rates are significantly lower on native-occupied lands, but that governments often fail to recognize indigenous peoples' legal claims to their land, thus jeopardizing their ability to manage it.

"Evidence from the last decade shows that developing-country governments and the broader international community are not moving fast enough to recognize and strengthen the rights of forest peoples," Alain Frechette, an author of the carbon analysis and RRI's director of strategic analysis and global engagement, said in a statement.

Failure to recognize indigenous peoples' land rights could open up these lands to unbridled deforestation and release the sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, undermining the global pledge to reduce carbon emissions under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

"At least one-third of carbon managed by communities in tropical and subtropical countries lies in forests where the primary stewards lack legal titles, putting them, their forests and the carbon they store at great risk," Frechette said.

Banner image: Members of the Kombai indigenous community in Boven Digoel district, Papua province, Indonesia, during a media briefing in Jakarta. Indigenous communities like Kombai are fighting to get their rights recognized across Indonesia. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay.

Source: https://news.mongabay.com/2018/09/activists-say-indonesia-dragging-its-heels-on-indigenous-rights/

Civil service & bureaucracy

Government allocates 2% of civil-service posts for disabled

Jakarta Post - September 22, 2018

Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – The government is encouraging people with disabilities to apply for this year's civil-service enrollment test as more ministries have opened up opportunities for the disabled.

Following the issuance of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Regulation (Permenpan) No. 36/2018, disabled people aged from 18 to 35 may apply to become civil servants. The disabled applicants are required to attach a statement letter that specifies their disability type upon registering.

The National Civil Service Agency stated on its Twitter account that at least 2 percent of positions in central government institutions and 1 percent of positions in regional institutions are reserved for disabled applicants. The total number of openings for fresh recruits is more than 238,000.

Disability activist Trian Airlangga said that this was not the first time that the government had allocated a quota for people with disabilities. Although he welcomed the news, Trian also felt that the disability quota was still not large enough and some improvements needed to be made.

For example, Trian stated that there should be a different minimum education requirement for disabled candidates.

He explained that some people with disabilities enrolled in school later than able-bodied people as they had limited access to education.

"I entered senior high school when I was 18 years old, which is much older than other Indonesian kids when they first enter high school," Trian said. One of his friends, he added, even entered elementary school at the age of 20 years old.

"We have no issues with our thinking capacity, it's just that we have very limited access to education," he told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Trian also felt that the announcement did not reach the disabled communities since it was not widely publicized, unlike the announcement for able-bodied people.

"It is such a shame that the government did not put more effort into the announcement," he said.

On Friday, several ministries and institutions, including the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry, the Tourism Ministry, the Communications and Information Ministry, the Finance Ministry, the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), the Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) and the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) announced openings for disabled applicants to fill several positions. (evi)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/21/govt-allocates-2-of-civil-service-posts-for-disabled.html

Indonesian diaspora can work as government workers, new rule says

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – Indonesian professionals living overseas will soon be able to work in ministries and state institutions without having to apply as civil servants, a scheme that the government says will give them more flexibility while contributing in developing the country.

A government regulation (PP) is currently being drafted contract-based government employees (PPPK), stipulating that competent professionals, ranging from teachers and lecturers to doctors, are able to work for the government under contracts while receiving the same wages as that of civil servants.

"We want to provide opportunities for experienced professionals and [Indonesians] working overseas who want to contribute to the nation's development, within a specific period of time," Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Minister Syafruddin said on Friday.

Under the PPPK system, Indonesian professionals can be employed under a minimum one-year contract that can be renewed until the retirement age set for that position. However, they must first pass an enrollment test as mandated by Law No. 5/2014 on state civil apparatus.

The government regulation is the mandate of a 2014 law that stipulates civil servants and contract-based government employees are considered state agents.

The Foreign Ministry estimated in 2013 that 4.6 million Indonesian citizens live overseas.

The final voter list (DPT) for the 2019 election released by the General Election Commission (KPU) on Sept. 16 shows that 2.04 million Indonesian voters live overseas.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/21/indonesian-diaspora-can-work-as-government-workers-new-rule-says.html

Palembang mayor requires Muslim civil servants to do dawn prayer at

Coconuts Jakarta - September 19, 2018

While the five daily prayers are a fundamental pillar of Islam, there are certainly some Muslims who choose not to do all of them, all of the time, for whatever personal reasons.

However, Muslim civil servants in the South Sumatran capital now have no choice about doing the Fajr (dawn) prayer every morning unless they want to risk losing their jobs, according to a new regulation passed by the city's mayor.

Palembang Mayor Harnojoyo officially signed a mayoral regulation (Perwali) yesterday requiring every Muslim official in the Palembang Government to perform the Fajr prayer at a mosque or musalla (home prayers don't count apparently) with violators facing the threat of dismissal.

The regulation does not apply to non-Muslim civil servants nor were they given any similar requirements. Harnojoyo said he signed the regulation into law because it would help improve discipline among government employees.

"We hope that this regulation will create prosperity in the mosques and build up the soul of Islam and responsibility," Harnojoyo said yesterday as quoted by JawaPos.

Although he did not explain the exact mechanism by which the regulation would be enforced, Harnojoyo made it clear that the threat of dismissal for civil servants for not following it was very real.

"Go ahead if you don't want to follow this regulation. But, get ready to be removed from office," Harnojoyo said.

Prayer times varies throughout the year in Palembang; this month the Fajr call to prayer begins at around 4:30am every day.

As far as we can tell this is the first such regulation in Indonesia that threatens civil servants with firing for not carrying out religious duties.

There have been similar regulations in the past before though, such as the government of Bengkulu encouraging all female government employees to wear hijab (there seems to have been no threat of firing for those who didn't follow though) and many Indonesian public schools require the use of the hijab by female Muslim students.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/mayor-palembang-requires-muslim-civil-servants-dawn-prayer-mosque-face-dismissal/

Jakarta & urban life

Former hate speech convict runs for Jakarta Council

Jakarta Post - September 25, 2018

Jakarta – Former hate speech convict Asma Dewi is running for office in next year legislative election, seeking a seat in the Jakarta Council for the Gerindra Party.

"[Her candidacy] is right. She said she was a victim of criminalization," said the party's Jakarta executive board (DPD) deputy chairman, Syarif, as quoted by kompas.com on Tuesday.

Syarif was referring to a ruling by the South Jakarta District Court, which had sentenced Asma Dewi to five months and 15 days of imprisonment in March for violating Article 207 of the Criminal Code (KUHP) on insulting those in power or legal institutions.

In a post published on Facebook, Asma had called the government of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo koplak (which roughly translates to "stupid") and edun (loosely translated as "crazy"). The party, however, was not bothered by her legal status, Syarif said.

Asma Dewi represents DKI Jakarta 2, which comprises Koja, Cilincing and Kelapa Gading districts in North Jakarta and the Thousand Islands regency.

Upon her arrest in September 2017, police said she was possibly linked to the Saracen group, a news outlet accused of producing hate speech. Police said Asma had sent money to Saracen.

Asma's lawyers later said the police's dossiers and the indictment against Asma did not mention anything about Saracen or money transfers. (vla)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/25/former-hate-speech-convict-runs-for-jakarta-council.html

PKS says Gerindra can't take everything

Jakarta Post - September 19, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani and Marguerite Afra Sapiie, Jakarta – The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) is insisting that the Jakarta deputy gubernatorial post belongs by right to it, dismissing claims made a by Gerindra Party politician that he had been nominated for the post.

The party said it opposed the nomination of Gerindra councilor Mohammad Taufik as Jakarta deputy governor, replacing Sandiaga Uno, who is running for vice president.

It argued that Gerindra had already taken enough prestigious posts. "Is Gerindra going to take it all?" asked PKS executive Hidayat Nur Wahid at the State Palace on Wednesday.

The PKS has conceded to Gerindra's wish to pair its chairman, Prabowo Subianto, and its deputy chairman, Sandiaga, as presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The PKS had initially demanded that Prabowo be paired with one of its members as a representative of political Islam in the coalition.

The Prabowo coalition later appointed another Gerindra politician, Djoko Santoso, as chairman of the candidate's campaign team. The deputy governor post has been left empty since last month.

"In politics, we have to keep the commitment of togetherness," Hidayat said, adding that the PKS had already prepared a party member to take the city's second-highest post. (ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/19/pks-says-gerindra-cant-take-everything.html

Anies issues regulation to make reading mandatory

Jakarta Post - September 18, 2018

Fachrul Sidiq, Jakarta – The Jakarta administration is amplifying efforts to improve the interest in reading among students and the public in general by holding events such as literacy tours and competitions, in line with Gubernatorial Regulation No. 76/2018 on improving reading interest issued last month.

The regulation, which also requires schools to oblige students to visit libraries, came after studies showed that literacy levels in the capital – and the country – were shockingly low.

In the 2015 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) report, which measures the reading, mathematics and science literacy of 15-year-old students, Indonesia ranks 62nd of 72 countries surveyed.

Another OECD study revealed that adults in Jakarta show lower levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy compared to adults in other countries who participated in the survey, with a wide dispersion.

The new regulation serves as a basis for the administration to carry out several activities to familiarize the public with reading, promote reading-related activities, and hold and offer rewards through competitions.

"We are challenged to improve our reading interest, particularly in an era where people are far more interested in reading WhatsApp [chats] than in reading books [...] People nowadays prefer to skim rather than read," Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said over the weekend.

Anies also cited a 2016 study conducted by Central Connecticut State University, which put Indonesia as the second-least literate nation among a list of 61 countries, besting only Botswana – even though in terms of infrastructure to support reading, the archipelago ranked above some developed countries.

Anies issued a similar regulation in 2015 when he was education and culture minister, requiring students to read for 15 minutes each morning.

The regulation stipulated that each regional head was authorized to determine the reading activities. However, the regulation was deemed ineffective because teachers were often absent to observe the reading sessions.

"In the near future, we will communicate with the Library and Archives Agency to determine what kind of activities we will hold to ensure [the new regulation] is effective and measurable," said Jakarta Education Agency acting head Bowo Irianto.

One of the events prepared by the agency, Bowo said, was the Literacy Festival, which will be held at City Hall on Oct. 4. It is set to feature book reviews, writing seminars and a presentation of students' literary works.

Library and Archives Agency head Wahyu Haryadi said he was confident the series of planned events would boost students' reading interest. City-run libraries welcomed 1.18 million visitors in 2016, a jump from 355,812 in 2012.

"There were 1.7 million visits in 2017 and we expect to see a 10 percent increase this year. Basically, the more, the merrier," Wahyu said, adding that there were 1.2 million books available in the libraries spread across the capital's five municipalities and one regency.

"Students are particularly interested in reading fiction, apart from books that relate to their studies," he said, adding that the number of readers on iJakarta, an online reading platform launched during the previous administration, had also experienced a significant increase.

Child psychologist and education expert Najeela Shihab said it was important to ensure that students did not only visit libraries because they felt that they had to.

"What is more important is for the students to be able to draw a conclusion of the books they read – how they relate [the stories] to real-life conditions and improve their problem-solving abilities," Najeela said.

"If they just read unnecessary information, it could end up worsening their literacy."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/18/low-literacy-jakarta-anies-issues-regulation-make-reading-mandatory.html

Criminal justice & legal system

Woman allegedly beaten, paraded, stripped and tied to tree after being

Coconuts Jakarta - September 18, 2018

Stories about alleged criminals being humiliated and beaten in public are unfortunately nothing new in Indonesia, but a recent case in the city of Medan, North Sumatra, involving a middle-aged female victim is especially shocking.

Last Wednesday, a 52-year-old single mother, identified by her initials SBN, was allegedly beaten, paraded, stripped to her underwear and then tied to a tree by people who accused her of shoe theft. According to SBN's lawyer, she bought a pair of shoes from teenage street sellers near her house the previous day, not knowing that the shoes were stolen.

The next morning, two men, identified by their initials MP and DD, dragged SBN out of her house and into a cafe nearby, where she was subjected to humiliation and violence.

"On the way [to the cafe], the two men continued to inflict violence on the victim. It was also the case at the cafe. The victim had her arms and legs tied up and was treated harshly by several people," SBN's lawyer, Armada Sihite, told Kumparan today.

Armada added that the culprits then paraded SBN on the streets before tying her to a tree, where she was again beaten.

SBN's adult daughter, after hearing that her mother was being attacked and paraded, ran to the location to find that SBN had already been stripped to her underwear. The daughter tried to stop her mother's humiliation, but the culprits also beat her, landing a couple of punches to her face. "When the police came, the culprits dispersed," Armada said.

SBN and her daughter reported the incident to the police, but there have been no reports of any arrests since. In a viral video posted by the daughter explaining her version of the incident, she mentioned one of the culprits by name and said that he is a member of a local chapter of an Indonesian mass organization long rumored to be a front for thugs for hire.

Humiliating and violent acts of mob justice are sadly quite common in Indonesia, especially in rural areas. Many of them involve the punishing of couples accused of getting intimate out of wedlock, ironically by stripping and shaming them in public such as in one viral case in Tangerang last year. The culprits in that case were eventually jailed, but, more often than not, mobs go unpunished.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-woman-allegedly-beaten-paraded-stripped-tied-tree-accused-shoe-theft/

Foreign affairs & trade

Government cancels import of 600,000 tons of rice

Jakarta Post - September 20, 2018

Jakarta – Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution has stated that the government has canceled the import of 600,000 tons of rice.

He explained that as of August, the government had imported 1.4 million tons of rice from the full-year plan to import 2 million tons, while exporting countries could not meet the schedule for the remaining 600,000 tons, decided upon in a coordination meeting in April.

Darmin's statement was made following an open debate between state-owned logistics company Bulog president director Budi Waseso and Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita on the issue, during which Budi said the country did not need to import rice until June 2019.

Darmin called on all relevant officials not to criticize the rice import decision made during the coordination meeting.

"In my opinion, it is not necessary to have a noisy debate. If we did not import we were in trouble. The decision was made based on careful considerations," said Darmin on Wednesday as reported by kompas.com. Previously, Budi explained that Bulog's warehouses currently stored 2.4 million tons or rice, while another 400,000 tons of imported rice would arrive in October. He estimated that Bulog would be managing up to 3 million tons of rice by year-end as it was purchasing 4,000 tons of unhusked rice from farmers every day.

Based on the Agriculture Ministry projections, Indonesia has produced 13.7 million tons of rice this year. Rice production reached 2.5 million tons in January, 4.7 tons in February and 6.6 tons in March.

However, as of March, Bulog only had a stock of 590,000 to 649,000 tons of rice. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/20/government-cancels-import-of-600000-tons-of-rice.html

Liquor among goods to face further import restrictions

Jakarta Post - September 19, 2018

Jakarta – Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita has announced that the government will tighten import restrictions on a number of goods, namely alcoholic beverages, tires, iron, steel, textiles and textile products.

He said the imported goods would have to enter the country through bonded logistic centers (PLBs) in an attempt to prevent smuggling.

"These commodities must pass through PLBs so we can inspect them," said Enggartiasto in his office in Jakarta on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

He said his office was drafting a regulation on the matter, which would be ready in October. "The policy should be implemented in October," he said

Trade Ministry International Trade Director General Oke Nurwan said the regulation would be used as an instrument to curb imports. "This is because the increase in imports has been quite high. Whether this is because of smuggling or not we don't know," he added.

The government recently introduced higher import tax on 1,147 consumer goods in an attempt to curb imports, which were partly blamed for the rupiah weakening against the US dollar.

Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data revealed a US$1.02 billion trade deficit in August and $2.03 billion in July. From January to August, the trade deficit reached $4.09 billion, with surpluses only occurring in March and June. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/19/liquor-among-goods-to-face-further-import-restrictions.html

Mining & energy

Accelerating economic activity pushes up energy imports

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2018

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has blamed accelerating economic activity for an increase in energy imports, the largest contributor to the country's trade deficit in August.

Statistics Indonesia announced on Monday that the country's trade deficit had risen to US$1.02 billion in August, mostly as a result of oil and gas imports, which had increased by 14.5 percent from the previous month to $3.05 billion.

Meanwhile, exports of oil and gas products dropped 3.27 percent over the same month to $1.38 billion.

Deputy Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arcandra Tahar said on Monday that the government had actually expected to see lower imports in August, as exports had decreased around 3 percent month-to-month (mtm).

"It should be lower. Yet we see increasing economic activity that resulted in higher diesel imports," he said in a press briefing.

Arcandra explained that the takeover of oil and gas blocks by state-owned energy holding company Pertamina had also contributed to the decline in oil and gas exports.

Pertamina recently assumed control of the Mahakam Block, which had been operated by Total E&P Indonesie and Inpex Corporation since 1966. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/17/accelerating-economic-activity-pushes-up-energy-imports.html

Banking & finance

Indonesia to lower overseas online shopping limit to $75

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2018

Jakarta – The Finance Ministry's Customs and Excise Office has issued a regulation to lower the import limit for online shopping to only US$75 from the initial $100.

"The new regulation will take effect on Oct. 10," said its director general, Heru Pambudi, in Jakarta on Monday as reported by kompas.com.

He said the policy was stated in Finance Minister Regulation No 112/PMK.04/2018 on the amendment of Finance Minister Regulation No. 182/PMK.04/2016 on imported goods through delivery.

Heru explained the regulation was issued to prevent the splitting of imported goods worth more than $100.

He said his office found that certain importers purchased goods online worth $20,000 by splitting them into 400 transactions worth $100 each. "Our aim is to prevent it from becoming a trend."

To make the new regulation enforceable, Heri said, his office had applied an anti-splitting smart system with certain algorithms to validate and verify parcels sent from abroad.

He added that it would also integrate the application system to other applications related to manifest closures, appeal systems and to review the regulation's enforcement. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/17/indonesia-to-lower-overseas-online-shopping-limit-to-75.html

Taxation & state budget

Government expands tax holiday to cover more businesses

Jakarta Post - September 21, 2018

Jakarta – The government is revising a regulation on tax holidays to increase the number of beneficiaries that are eligible for the fiscal incentives.

Under Finance Ministry Regulation No. 35/2018 on the investment coordinating board and Finance Ministry Regulation No. 5/2018 on tax holidays, only 17 pioneer industries can benefit from the tax holiday.

Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) facility service director Endang Supriyadi said in Jakarta on Thursday that the 17 pioneer industries covered 153 beneficiaries – 151 industrial manufacturers and two infrastructure providers (electricity generation and toll roads).

The prevailing tax holiday regulation was only issued on March 29 with the objective to simplify procedures for investors to get the tax incentive, but the regulation failed to attract more investors availing themselves of the tax holiday.

"We plan to expand it to all sectors, including services that own large assets. Currently the minimum investment to get the tax holiday is Rp 500 billion (US$33.73 million)," said Endang, as quoted by kontan.co.id, adding that the expansion of the tax holiday coverage was expected to attract more investors.

The official said the government was discussing the detailed list of additional industries and businesses that could benefit from the fiscal incentives.

BKPM deputy for investment supervision Azhar Lubis said only four companies had been recommended for the tax incentive – one renewable energy company and three petrochemical companies.

Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said the tax holiday regulation needed to be revised, because a number of important sectors were not included as beneficiaries of the incentive. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/21/government-expands-tax-holiday-to-cover-more-businesses.html

Analysis & opinion

Indonesia's Widodo has edge in bid for second presidential term

Nikkei Asian Review - September 23, 2018

Jun Suzuki, Jakarta – Campaigning for Indonesia's April 2019 presidential election began on Sunday, with the incumbent, Joko Widodo, aiming for a second term.

Preparing for the campaign, the two candidates smiled and shook hands at the election commission in central Jakarta on Friday. "Let's show the maturity of our democracy for the people," said Widodo. "I hope that all the people conduct the election in a peaceful manner," said Subianto.

Widodo has the support of ruling party politicians, prominent business people and major media groups. The challenger, Prabowo Subianto, will try to use his big war chest to try to gain ground. The campaign will last more than six months. Although Widodo remains popular with voters and appears to have the edge, a brewing bribery scandal related to construction of a power plant on Sumatra could dent his chances.

The contest is a rerun of the 2014 presidential election and most observers think the odds are in the incumbent's favor. According to an Aug. 12-19 survey by LSI Denny JA, Widodo and his vice presidential running mate, Ma'ruf Amin, a Muslim religious leader, have the support of 52.2% of voters. Subianto and his running mate, Sandiaga Uno, a businessman and former deputy governor of Jakarta, trail with 29.5%. "The odds of the president being re-elected remain at 70%," said U.S. think tank Eurasia Group in a report published Aug. 10.

Unlike in 2014, Widodo has the support of Indonesia's media moguls. In the previous election they were split, with backers of Subianto and Widodo clashing repeatedly. Now they largely favor the incumbent.

For example, Perindo, a political party led by Hary Tanoesoedibjo, owner of media company MNC Group, has thrown its weight behind Widodo. MNC owns the RCTI TV network and Koran Sindo, an influential newspaper. In 2014, the party supported Subianto, throwing up a roadblock for Widodo.

Another backer is Erick Thohir, founder of Mahaka Media, a big advertising company that controls the influential Islamic newspaper Republika and other media units. During the previous campaign, TVOne, a station owned by an executive of the Golkar Party, a member of the ruling coalition, featured favorable coverage of Subianto; now it is staying neutral.

Subianto's team will be leaning heavily on the personal fortunes of the candidates themselves to get their message out. Subianto and Sandiaga are worth 7 trillion rupiah ($476 million) between them, more than 110 times as much as Widodo and Ma'ruf's 60 billion rupiah, according to financial filings with the Corruption Eradication Commission.

Sandiaga is particularly wealthy, with assets of more than 5 trillion rupiah. He is the founder of the Saratoga Investama Sedaya investment company and its biggest shareholder, with a stake of about 27%. He will use some of that money to buy TV commercials and a social media presence.

Subianto, with his military background, may benefit from the support of Indonesia's elite. The former special forces commander has appointed many military officers as campaign executives, including campaign chief Djoko Santoso, former commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces. Tommy Suharto, son of the late President Suharto, and former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono are also among his campaign team, a move intended to garner elite backing.

Indonesia has around 187 million voters. All citizens aged 17 and older may cast ballots. Married people of any age are eligible to vote as well.

Among the concerns for the Widodo government is a corruption scandal. In late August, the KPK, an independent anti-corruption watchdog, named Social Affairs Minister Idrus Marham as a suspect in a bribery investigation over construction of a $900 million power plant in Sumatra's Riau Province. Marham has stepped down from his cabinet and Golkar Party posts, but Widodo's first cabinet-level corruption scandal will give the opposition ammunition to attack the president, who trades heavily on his reputation for probity.

Adding to Widodo's troubles, KPK investigators arrested lawmaker Eni Saragih, also of Golkar, as she was in the act of accepting cash from a construction contractor at Marham's home. A subsequent search deepened suspicions that Marham was involved, according to media reports. The KPK believes Saragih received payments worth 4.8 billion rupiah ($320,000).

The power plant is part of a larger 5 quadrillion rupiah ($337 billion) infrastructure development program. The plant was to be a joint venture between state-owned utility PLN and private companies, who were selected without competitive bidding. The KPK suspects the construction companies transferred the money to a lawmaker familiar with the energy industry in return for the contract.

KPK has been investigating PLN executives since late August, including Sofyan Basir, PLN's president, who pushed ahead with the power plant project in response to government pressure. Sofyan denies the bribery allegations, saying his company had nothing to do with the scandal. It is unclear how far it may reach into the ruling coalition's leadership.

Widodo received strong popular support in 2014 by pledging to fight corruption. He cuts a frugal figure and has not been hurt by the revelations so far. His approval rating remains at just over 50%. But if the scandal spreads to senior officials and state company executives in charge of the infrastructure-building program, Widodo's path to a second term will become rougher.

Source: https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Indonesia-s-Widodo-has-edge-in-bid-for-second-presidential-term

Why stigma against victims of domestic violence persists in Indonesia

The Conversation - September 22, 2018

Balawyn Jones – There are many barriers to the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. In particular, the community has yet to be adequately educated about domestic violence laws.

To mark CAUSINDY (the Conference of Australian and Indonesian Youth) held in Makassar this month, The Conversation presents analysis from academics involved in the conference.

On 22 September 2004, Indonesia enacted the Anti-Domestic Violence Law. This law remains as relevant as ever. The National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) recently reported that domestic violence is the most prevalent type of violence against women in Indonesia.

The law has been in effect for over a decade, yet there remains widespread impunity for domestic violence perpetrators and a failure of state mechanisms to protect women.

There are many barriers to the implementation of the law, in particular the failure to adequately educate the community about domestic violence laws.

Violence in the private sphere

The Anti-Domestic Violence Law explicitly identifies domestic violence as a human rights violation. Some people may think that by legislating human rights norms into the domestic sphere the fight against domestic violence has been won. But this is very much only the beginning.

Some 14 years since the enactment of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law, public education efforts, such as the "Stop Kekerasan" campaign by Pusat Pelayanan Terpadu Pemberdayaan Perempuan dan Anak – P2TP2A (the Centre for Women and Children's Empowerment), have yet to change the public's mindset that domestic violence a "private issue".

The definition of the household in the law includes not only spouses, children and other family members who live together but also domestic workers. The law specifically targets violence in the home. However, many people still consider the household as a "private sphere" under the control of the male head of the household. This leads to victims being stigmatised and silenced.

Victims of domestic violence are stigmatised not necessarily for being abused, but for speaking out about being abused. This has become one of the the main barriers deterring victims from reporting domestic violence.

What constitutes domestic violence

There is a gap between the legal conceptualisation of domestic violence and the public's understanding of the law. In other words, the public have a different understanding of what constitutes domestic violence from that envisaged by the legislators.

The Anti-Domestic Violence Law defines violence broadly to include physical, psychological, sexual and economic violence (or "negligence"). But, in practice, the public's understanding of non-physical violence as violence is very limited. This corresponds to low reporting rates for psychological, sexual and economic violence.

Despite the broad legal definition, only in cases of severe physical violence do communities recognise domestic abuse as violence and not as a "private issue between husband and wife".

Some community members also try to justify the use of physical violence against women. They argue that, according to local culture and religious interpretations, the male head of the household is responsible for educating his family so a degree of physical violence against women is allowed.

Physical violence is therefore often justified as being "disciplinary" or "educative". This kind of rhetoric minimises the seriousness of violence and emphasises the reciprocity of violence – i.e. blaming the victim for provoking violence.

It is not uncommon for domestic violence perpetrators to try to justify their violence with excuses such as "my wife didn't fulfil her household obligations" or "my wife doesn't listen to me". These views often stem from patriarchal misinterpretations of Islamic doctrine.

In many parts of Indonesia, the authority of the male head of the household produces resistance to government efforts to intervene in the domestic realm to protect women's rights. Physical violence is over-emphasised – sidelining other forms of violence – as well as minimised through attempts to justify violence.

What's next?

Misunderstandings about domestic violence at the community level inevitably impact institutional understandings (for example, of police officers) and affect the implementation of the laws.

Educating the community about domestic violence is important to ensure people understand exactly what constitutes domestic violence. Without proper understanding of the laws, victims are not aware of their rights and they may not be supported by the local community to exercise their rights. In many instances, the local community may actively try to deter victims from reporting domestic violence.

The enactment of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law was, and is, a huge achievement for the Indonesian women's movement. The implementation of these laws in local and regional contexts is also an achievement – even if there remains room for improvement.

While we celebrate these achievements, we must also look to the future and take stock of the barriers we still need to overcome. In particular the need to improve community understandings of domestic violence and the law.

If you are experiencing domestic violence and require support contact P2TP2A or Unit Pelayanan Perempuan dan Anak (PPA) Polda in Indonesia, or local services in Australia.

[Balawyn Jones is a PhD Candidate and Research Fellow, University of Melbourne.]

Source: http://theconversation.com/why-stigma-against-victims-of-domestic-violence-persists-in-indonesia-103177

Price rising on Indonesia's resource nationalism

Asia Times - September 19, 2018

John McBeth, Jakarta – Propelled by a wave of nationalist sentiment and political pressure, the Indonesian government appears to be still coming to terms with the fact that assuming ownership of its once-largest gas-field and richest copper and gold mine comes at a significant price.

Production at East Kalimantan's fast-maturing Mahakam gas-field, once the country's biggest, has plunged since state oil company Pertamina took over from French oil giant Total E & S when its 30-year production sharing contract (PSC) expired last December.

At the other end of the archipelago, there has been a puzzling silence over the extra costs associated with the government's pending majority takeover of US-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold's (FCX) Grasberg mine now that it's in the throes of conversion to a more complex underground operation.

While fully supported by politicians and the public alike, the rising cost of resource nationalism is becoming more keenly felt with Indonesia under increasing financial pressure as a result of a fall in the value of the rupiah, a growing current account deficit and mounting concerns about the state of the global economy.

The two cases are different – up to a point. The Mahakam block was acquired for free, but demands plenty of working capital to keep the gas flowing at acceptable levels. While the Grasberg does have a price tag, further billions of dollars are needed to develop the mine and meet a host of other obligations.

Only this week, Deputy Mines and Energy Minister Arcandra Tahar specifically mentioned the Mahakam in acknowledging that oil and gas exports had dropped due to a transfer of ownership in several hydrocarbon blocks formerly operated by foreign companies.

Recently relegated to second best after BP's Tangguh field in West Papua, the Mahakam is reportedly producing only 916 million cubic feet of (mmcf) of gas a day, well short of the 1,255 mmcf realized in 2017 – the last year of Total's involvement – and Tangguh's current 1,400 mmcf.

It could slide a lot more. Amien Sunaryadi, upstream director of oil and gas regulator SKKMigas, was quoted in early July as saying that year-end production from the Mahakam could be as low as 844 mmcf, apparently the result of a less intensive drilling program.

Ida Yusmiati, director of subsidiary PT Pertamina Hulu Mahakam (PHM), revealed last month that the company had drilled only 18 of the 69 wells planned for this year, which along with interventions in existing wells was expected to cost US$1.7 billion.

Industry sources claim Pertamina doesn't have the expertise or the working capital to get the job done. "Operating a field in sharp decline is an art form that needs years or decades of experience," says one consultant. "They say they have a plan to reverse or halt the decline, but I don't see it."

Pertamina recently underwent its third leadership change in four years and, with last year's net profit down 23% to US$2.4 billion, government officials deny reports that the company is actively looking for partners to help its development projects.

In a recent presentation, new PT PHM general manager John Anis, Total's former vice-president for field operations, detailed a long list of problems ranging from reservoir uncertainty to ageing surface facilities and high long-term capital investment.

Another former Total executive Henricus Herwin, now head of geosciences and reservoir development for PT PHM, wrote in a technical paper last month: "Maintaining the continuously maturing Mahakam assets requires tremendous efforts and investment."

Similar costs and problems await the government when it finally concludes talks with Freeport to acquire a 51% of the Grasberg, whose massive open pit is now expected to be closed in the first half of next year, nearly four decades after it went into production.

While progress has been made on some fronts, the two sides still can't agree on managerial control, financial and legal issues, tougher new rules for the disposal of the mine's rock waste, or tailings, and a US$13.2 billion bill belatedly assessed for past environmental damage.

The latter may have been a negotiating ploy, but it is clear Freeport has been unable to stop half of the tailings pushing out of the seaward end of its sprawling Ajkwa River deposition area and onto coastal mudflats – far more than the 25% initially anticipated.

State-owned holding company PT Inalum is raising US$3.8 billion from a consortium of foreign banks to pay for the 51% stake. But at least US$10 billion is still needed – on top of the US$8 billion Freeport has already spent – to expand the underground mine, currently contributing 40% of overall production.

As the majority owner, Inalum will presumably be liable for half of those development costs, or US$800 million a year, mostly in the initial five years as PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) extends the infrastructure needed to tap into three new underground deposits.

Apart from future loan repayments and half of the US$2.7 billion required for a new smelter under the 2009 Mining Law, part of Inalum's revenue stream will routinely go towards its share of the operating costs. At 4,200 meters up in Papua's mist-covered Central Highlands, Grasberg is not cheap to run.

Grasberg produced US$4.4 billion, or a quarter of parent FCX's total revenues last year, with a gross operating income of US$2 billion; the government collected $756 million in taxes, dividends and non-tax benefits, bringing the state's total income from the mine between 1992 and 2017 to US$17.2 billion.

But analysts well-versed in Freeport's operations say new development projects have no history on which to base future cash flows, and note that profitability is highly sensitive to copper prices, currently lingering at US$2.72 a pound.

Freeport's future access to capital may also be limited, with a large chunk of the parent company's debt maturing in the next five years. That raises the interesting question of how much of the Indonesian subsidiary's assets are pledged for that debt.

With 10% of the state's 51% already committed to the district and provincial governments, Inalum will have the additional problem presented by the One Percent Fund, under which US$100 million a year is channeled to the seven indigenous tribes in the area.

Sources familiar with the workings of the foundation that receives and administers the money say local Papuan tribal leaders and their political backers have habitually divided up the spoils, leaving little to reinvest or to benefit the community.

Inalum will also have to involve itself in security operations around the mine. Despite the presence of a police-army task force, a prolonged series of shooting incidents, going back to a deadly ambush in 2002, means workers can only be moved in armored convoys up the precipitous road to the high-altitude mining town of Tembagapura.

If the underground development timetable remains on course, it will still take about three or more years to bring production – and profits – at the world's biggest gold mine and third biggest copper mine up to previous levels.

Still, mining the 145 million tonne Deep Ore Zone (DOZ) and the 54 million tonne Big Gossan deposits, Freeport is now preparing to open up the Grasberg Underground, the prized one million tonne ore body lying directly below the pit.

Engineers have already completed a 3.5-kilometer-long access tunnel, part of a wider ore-flow and rail haulage system, that will accommodate two electric trains pulling wagon-loads of ore at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour.

Production from that deposit alone is targeted to reach 130,000 tonnes a year by 2023, yielding 1% copper and 75 grams of gold per ton, even higher than the average grades that have made the Grasberg one of the world's most profitable mines.

Mid-2019 will also see the start-up of the Deep Mill Level Zone (DMLZ), a third 471 million tonne deposit, lying below the DOZ at an elevation of 2,590 meters, which is planned to reach full production by 2022, provided the mining operations don't continue to cause seismic activity.

Overall, the amount of ore processed through the mill will drop initially from 230,000 to about 130,000 tonnes, but that should ramp back up to current levels by 2022-2023 when much of the underground infrastructure will be in place.

For the moment, Kucing Liar, a 402 million tonne discovery south of the open pit, will remain untouched because of the high iron pyrite content of the ore, a sulphide commonly known as Fools' Gold which oxidizes in contact with air or water.

Such dangerous levels of acidity means Kucing Liar's tailings will have to be treated separately and piped to large encapsulated pits in the northeast corner of the deposition zone, something that will only add to future operating costs.

Most of the mine's rock waste is discharged into the river and carried downstream, where 20,000 indigenous miners pan for the 18% of the gold that escapes during the process of refining the ore into sand-like concentrate.

This year the Grasberg is expected to produce 2.4 million ounces of gold and 1.2 million pounds of copper, compared to the collective 2.6 million pounds that come from the parent company's other copper mines in North and South America.

With bankable reserves of 2.2 billion tonnes and the outcome of the current talks notwithstanding, Grasberg is still likely to be in full production when Freeport's extended contract is due to run out in 2041, leaving the mine entirely in Indonesian hands.

Add in the 1.4 billion tons in probable reserves and the mine life could extend out to 2060 or 2070 – eight decades after it was first discovered. Even then, according to some geologists, it may still be producing at the turn of the century if the government has the money and know-how to keep it running.

Source: http://www.atimes.com/article/price-rising-on-indonesias-resource-nationalism/

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