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Indonesia News Digest 36 – September 26-30, 2018

West Papua Aceh Human rights & justice Pki & anti-communism Labour & migrant workers Political parties & elections Blasphemy & hate speech Fake news & black campaigns Surveys & opinion polls Environment & natural disasters Health & education LGBT & same-sex marriage Corruption & abuse of power Hard-line & vigilante groups Freedom of religion & worship Sport & recreation Literature & the arts Tourism & hospitality Mining & energy Infrastructure & development Economy & investment

West Papua

Improving education is an uphill battle in Papua

La Croix International - September 29, 2018

Benny Mawel, Jayapura – Abraham Hubi, thinks he's a very lucky boy to be studying at St. Antony of Padua, a Franciscan-run school in Sentani not far from Papua's provincial capital Jayapura.

The ninth grader who comes from a small, remote village in the hills says it is nothing short of a miracle considering he was still unable to read or write after going through elementary school.

That was why he didn't mind having to do another preparatory year before finally attending the Catholic-run junior high school, which he said offers him his only realistic chance of a better future.

"After leaving elementary school I could only pronounce words and letters. But now I can read and write," he said.

Illiteracy is a major problem in Papua, with many children unable to read or write despite having finished elementary school. There are many reasons for this, but the most serious are a shortage of teachers and school facilities.

The shortages come as a surprise to many observers considering Papua – besides its natural wealth – has received billions of dollars over the years from central government to help support its special autonomy status.

Local authorities in Papua say they have tried to improve education through programs such as building schools in remote areas. However, critics say they were not supported by sufficient numbers of teachers.

Many Papuan children live in remote villages, however, the good schools are located in cities, said Gabriel Payong, 28, the principal at St. Anthony's school.

He said the best solution for these Papuan students, particularly at elementary and secondary levels, is boarding.

St. Anthony's offers boarding which enables students to focus more on their studies, according to Payong. "This kind of school is useful for children from villages, who are economically poor but have the will to learn," he said.

He also said boarding school helps make Papuan children responsible people, through the rules and regulations they live by. "Here students can study, become involved involve in every day things, and we can monitor their progress," he said.

Make use of autonomy fund

After his inauguration at the state palace in Jakarta on Sept. 5 – together with other newly elected governors – Papua Governor Lukas Enembe said that over next five years he and his deputy, Klemen Tinal, would focus on improving education in the province.

He said he would introduce better educational infrastructure in districts and municipalities, as well as offer more scholarships to native Papuans to pursue further studies.

"There are many Papuan children who don't get a proper education," Enembe said. He said this was the root cause of poverty in Papua, making it the poorest province in Indonesia.

According to the Central Statistics Agency a high proportion of the 26 million Indonesians officially listed as poor live in Papua. "In the next five years, we expect to see more people being educated," said Enembe.

According to Professor Baltazar Kabuaya from Cendrawaih University, in Jayapura, local government efforts to improve education and other services will likely succeed if there is strong leadership and a will to better manage natural resources and the special autonomous region fund.

Since Papua was given special autonomy status in 2001 in part to help build the province economically, central government has provided more than US$3 billion in additional funding, and plans to provide more in the years before the special status expires in 2025.

The province is home to 3.6 million people, of whom 61.3 percent are Protestant, 21 percent Catholic, and 17.4 percent Muslim.

Kabuaya said the autonomy fund is a large amount when taking the size of the province's population into account so there should not be any excuses for not providing better education for Papuans. "Otherwise, Papua will be back to square one, after special autonomy status runs out," he said.

More scholarships

This year the provincial government in cooperation with the Ministry of Education is offering scholarships to more than 1,000 native Papuans to pursue higher education at various universities.

All are expected to graduate in teaching and to be placed in secondary and tertiary education.

Ferige Uaga, 28, a medical student in Jayapura, said he appreciated Governor Enembe's good intentions regarding the scholarships, but said they do not go far enough.

Scholarships should not only be given to those pursuing a career in education, but also in other fields. "Offering scholarships must be objective, and also free from nepotism," she said

Benyamin Lagowan, 28, another medical student, said more people are desperately needed in the health sector so more scholarships in this field should also be a priority.

"Many clinics don't have doctors, so it makes sense the government should support those wanting to become doctors," he said, adding that schools will certainly need health workers too to ensure students are healthy.

Source: https://international.la-croix.com/news/improving-education-is-an-uphill-battle-in-papua/8521

Answers sought over death of Papuan machete suspect

UCA News - September 26, 2018

Ryan Dagur, Jakarta – Human rights and church activists have called for an investigation following the death last week of an indigenous Papuan who died in police custody.

Yudas Gebze, from the Malind tribal group died on Sept. 14, a day after he was arrested in Ilwahab, in Papua province's Merauke district for allegedly chopping off a man's right hand with a machete.

He had spent three months on the run prior to his arrest following the alleged machete incident.

In a joint statement, Amnesty International Indonesia and Pusaka, an Indonesian NGO working for indigenous people's rights, called for a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation into allegations of torture leading to Gebze's death.

They said several wounds to his head, hands, thighs, and back were the result of torture by security forces.

According to police spokesman, Ahmad Musthofa Kamal, Gebze died from a heart attack. "Injuries to his body were not the cause of death, he died of a heart attack," he claimed, citing an autopsy report.

He claimed Gebze fell on broken glass while trying to resist arrest. Police took him to hospital, where he died a few hours later.

Yosafat Franky from Pusaka told ucanews.com on Sept. 25 the police's version of events did not sufficiently explain the wounds and that photos of Gebze reveal that he may have been the victim of torture.

He cast doubt on the autopsy because a doctor from the police forensic team carried it out.

Members of the victim's family witnessed the autopsy but the absence of an independent forensic expert breached impartiality requirements, he said.

"A prompt, independent and impartial investigation is required to avoid similar cases from occurring," he said.

The dead man's family said they want a fact-finding team to investigate the case and present its findings in court.

Human rights defender, Father John Djonga, said the police must show transparency when handling cases such as these.

"Based on the long history of violence against the Papuan people, there is lack of trust in Indonesian authorities," he told ucanews.com.

According to Amnesty International Indonesia there have been 95 cases of extrajudicial killing in Papua since 2010. Of those cases 85 were indigenous Papuans.

Source: https://www.ucanews.com/news/answers-sought-over-death-of-papuan-machete-suspect/83446


Aceh MUI fully supports MR immunization

Jakarta Post - September 27, 2018

Jakarta – The Aceh branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has emphasized its support for the government's measles and rubella (MR) immunization drive in the conservative Muslim province.

"Immunization has many benefits and can save lives," Aceh MUI executive Abd. Rahman said at an inter-ministry coordination meeting in Banda Aceh on Wednesday. "MUI is obligated to help all programs that have a noble purpose, especially immunization, which is one of the keys to public health."

He added that the central MUI had issued a fatwa declaring that the MR vaccine was mubah (permitted for Muslims) despite containing materials derived from pigs, because of the necessity of preventing an MR epidemic.

"I have seen for myself young mothers whose babies have become deaf, blind from cataracts and suffer from leaky hearts and shrunken brains," he said. "I do not dare to take the responsibility in front of Allah if I deny that this is an emergency situation and do nothing to prevent it."

The Health Ministry has set a target of 95 percent MR immunization coverage in the second phase of the program, held in August to September. Aceh is the province with the lowest coverage rate so far, with only 4.94 percent or 76,461 children vaccinated out of its target of 1.5 million.

"Effective immunization can provide immunity for children and if 95 percent coverage is achieved there will be herd immunity," Aceh health agency head Hanif said. "This is very important because measles and rubella spreads very easily through the air." (kmt/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/27/aceh-mui-fully-supports-mr-immunization.html

Human rights & justice

Omah Munir museum to be expanded

Jakarta Post - September 29, 2018

Nedi Putra AW, Batu, East Java – Suciwati, the widower of rights activist Munir Said Thalib, has revealed a plan to expand the Omah Munir museum in Batu, East Java, which was built to provide audiovisual information about Munir and his battle to protect human rights in Indonesia.

The museum, built on a 290-square meter land plot in 2013, could no longer accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors, she said.

The plan, supported by the Indonesian Architects Association (IAI) and the Batu administration, is to build a bigger museum on a 2,000-square meter plot. The East Java provincial administration has pledged funds to help finance the construction, which is estimated to cost Rp 14 billion (US$939,568) and to take two years.

"The display will remain more and less the same, but the new museum will have more rooms for discussions or art performances," Suciwati said.

The construction project is expected to kick off on Dec. 8, the birth date of Munir, or Dec. 10, which is celebrated as the World Human Rights Day.

M. Chottob of the IAI Malang chapter said that the association initiated a design competition to attract the best ideas for the new museum. The winner will win a total prize of Rp 220 million.

Batu mayor Dewanti Rumpoko said that the new Omah Munir is expected to become the largest human rights museum in Southeast Asia.

Munir was assassinated in 2004 while traveling to the Netherlands. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/28/omah-munir-museum-to-be-expanded.html

Pki & anti-communism

FPI leader Rizieq Shihab's call to watch anti-communist film ignored,

CNN Indonesia - September 30, 2018

Jakarta – An event organised by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) titled "Prayer for the Salvation of the Nation" at the National Monument (Monas) in Central Jakarta on the evening of Saturday September 29, closed with a public screening of the G30S/PKI film.

The majority of participants however, showed little enthusiasm for the film and elected to return home instead.

The call to stay and watch the G30S/PKI film was a direct order from fugitive FPI "Great Leader" Rizieq Shihab in a voice message played just before the screening was to start.

"So I call on the Islamic congregation, this evening or tomorrow wherever you are to again screen the G30S/PKI film so that our younger generation who do not yet understand, will know about the dangers of the PKI", said Shihab in the recorded message.

Not long after the voice message was played, the organising committee began screening the film titled "The Betrayal of the September 30 Movement/Indonesian Communist Party" by director Arifin C. Noer.

The film presentation was prepared by FPI Jihad (Holy War) Department head Subhan Amir who said that he wanted young children to know that there was a group which tried to replace Indonesia's ideology.

"I myself am responsible for the screening of the film. Crush, crush, crush the PKI. Crush the PKI now", shouted Amir imitating the tune of the children's song "Planting the Corn" (Menanam Jagung).

Few however paid any attention to Rizieq and Amir's call. Most of the participants elected to return home because it was already approaching midnight. Only a small number remained to watch the film.

The departure of most of the audience created a traffic jam in the vicinity of Monas. The participants, which organisers claimed numbered some 200,000 people, spilled out onto the roads creating congestion in the vicinity of Gambir train station.

There was also a traffic jam on Jl. Silang Merdeka in front of the exit because congregation members walked on foot to their vehicles parked nearby. There was also congestion on Jl. Merdeka Timur which was unable to cope with the volume of traffic.

The joint prayer at Monas was attended by a number of religious and political figures including Islamic scholar Abdul Somad, FPI general chairperson M. Shobri Lubis and FPI Jakarta leader Muchlis Alatas.

Several members of the political elite were also present including the secretary general of Tommy Suharto's Working Party, Priyo Budi Santoso, the secretary general of Prabowo Subianto's Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), Ahmad Mujani, House of Representatives (DPR) Deputy Speaker and Gerindra politician Fadli Zon, and the second-daughter of former president Suharto, Siti Hediati Hariyadi (Titiek Suharto). (jnt/wis)


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 "Rizieq Ajak Nobar PKI, Sebagian Jemaah Memilih Pulang".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180930014745-20-334336/rizieq-ajak-nobar-pki-sebagian-jemaah-memilih-pulang?

Amnesty urges TNI to ignore 'provocative' calls to screen anti-communist

Kompas.com - September 28, 2018

Ihsanuddin, Jakarta – Amnesty International is urging TNI (Armed Forces) chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto and Army Chief of Staff (KASD) Lieutenant General Mulyono to ignore provocative calls by former TNI chief retired General Gatot Nurmantyo and others in the political elite to hold public screenings of the film G30S/PKI on September 30 this year.

Amnesty International Indonesia director Usman Hamid says that the choice of whether to watch the film "The Betrayal of the 30 September Movement/Indonesian Communist Party" (Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI) is up to the individual. The TNI should not be forced into taking actions that are prone to misuse by certain political elite groups.

"Making an issue over the position of the TNI commander and KSAD by giving the impression that they are afraid or saying officers are cowards if they don't order public screenings of the G30S/PKI film is an attempt to politicise the TNI", said Hamid in a written statement on Friday September 28.

"TNI officers, and also the public cannot be forced to accept one version of history. They already understand that there are different versions of history. Each person has the right to decide if they want to watch the G30S/PKI film or refer to alternative films or literature", added Hamid.

Hamid said that in September last year, when Nurmantyo held the post of TNI commander, there were social groups which were influenced by the film and as a result attacked and vandalised the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) offices in Jakarta.

"This [the attack] was intimidation against human rights defenders. The brutality of the perpetrators overwhelmed security personnel, both members of Polri [Indonesian police] as well as TNI officers who tried to secure [the situation]. Several police officers were even injured. But the perpetrators have never been prosecuted", explained Hamid.

Hamid added that not long after Nurmantyo made the recent anti-PKI statements, on September 27 nationalist groups forcibly broke up two Thursday actions (Kamisan) in the East Java cities of Malang and Surabaya on the grounds that the demonstrations were linked to the PKI.

Hamid also noted that during the era of reformasi – the reform process that began in 1998 – the education minister during the presidency of BJ Habibie, Juwono Sudarsono, formed a special team to reevaluate all history books that taught the official version of the G30S/PKI affair.

The minister of information during the Habibie era, retired Lieutenant General Yunus Yosfiah also halted the requirement that the G30S/PKI film be aired by TV stations every September 30.

"This is evidence that the [official] history of the September 30, 1965 affair has already been reevaluated and revised by the government [itself]", he said.

Hamid added that survey by Jakarta-based Saiful Mujani Research and Consulting (SMRC) in 2017 and 2018 found that 86 percent of people did not agree with claims that the PKI was being revived. Only 12 percent of respondents agreed with this.

So, he said, although the anti-PKI issue is actually not significant, it is being blown up in order to defend the interests of certain sections of the political elite.

This is being done in order to paint the victims and survivors of the 1965 anti-communist purge in a bad light and to silence activists, university lecturers and farmers who are fighting for their basic rights.

"For example, the farmer Budi Pego in Banyuwangi who was charged with and sentenced to jail for spreading communist ideology after protesting against a local gold mine operation. So this is a minor issue that is being exaggerated", he said.

Two weeks ago, Nurmantyo issued a challenge to the TNI leadership via his Twitter account @Nurmantyo_Gatot to order public screenings of the G30S/PKI film.


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 "TNI Diminta Abaikan Tantangan Gatot untuk Nobar G30S/PKI".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/28/20555101/tni-diminta-abaikan-tantangan-gatot-untuk-nobar-g30spki

Thursday action in Malang broken up by pro-nationalist thugs

Kompas.com - September 27, 2018

Andi Hartik, Malang – A Thursday (Kamisan) action in front of the Malang City Hall in East Java was forcibly broken up by a pro-nationalist group on Thursday September 27.

The group objected to the issues that were to be conveyed during the action which is held every Thursday afternoon.

One of the Thursday action participants, Rico Tude, said that the issue that was to be raised at this Thursday action was related to the 1965 affair. According to Rico, there is a lot of fake news produced about the anti-communist purge in 1965.

"Fake news about 1965 continues to be produced by the regime and the [government] opposition. So for us through this Kamisan we are calling for an end to the production of hoaxes about 65 or creating deep hatred against people of Indonesia. Because this issue has become a political commodity. People who knew nothing about the affair can be accused [of complicity]", he said.

Rico was aware that the action had failed to fulfill the legal requirements because they had not submitted a prior notification of the action with local police.

"Yesterday we were negligent. We didn't submit a written notification. The person who usually deals with this didn't come in. Now, [we didn't expect problems] because of it has become regular, every week there is always a Kamisan action", said the student who is active with the Student Struggle Center for National Liberation (Pembebasan).

Rico did not deny information that the action was also to be used by activists from the Papuan Student Alliance (AMP). Because, according to Rico, Papuan student activists also have the same interests as them in voicing concerns about human rights.

"[Yes] it's true there were Papuan comrades. The Papuan comrades also have an interest in upholding human rights. Not just the problem of upholding human rights in Indonesia, in Papua they are also experiencing the same problems", he said.

Rico added said that he was disappointed that the action was forcibly broken up.

Haris Budi Kuncahyo, one of the members of the group which broke up the Kamisan action said that the protest was taking up the issue of Papuan independence. Because of this therefore, they decided to close the action down.

"The story I read was this, end fake news abut 65. Then at the same time, later on Sunday [sic], at around 9.10am, they departed from the city square to demonstrate. This demo was related to 65. 65 was the understanding. There was nothing about communism, indeed there wasn't. But the word 65 was linked to consolidating Papuan independence", he said.

According to Kuncahyo it is inappropriate to raise the issue of Papuan independence in Malang City. Because he said, the Papuan students living in Malang have been treated well.

"Now, they used the term colonialism. Indonesian colonialism. Yet they (the Papuan students) can study freely, they can eat and drink freely in Malang City. There is no intimidation, threats or harassment and the like against them", he explained.

Meanwhile he also opposed the action because the organising committee had not submitted a notification with police.

"In the post-1998 reformasi [reform] era, there has been extraordinary public openness to freedom of expression and assembly and so forth. But there are rules right, obtaining permits and so forth", said the man who is active in the organisation Solid NKRI (Solid with Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia).

Kota City municipal deputy police chief Police Commander Bambang Kristanto Utomo said that they had asked that the action be stopped so that it did not end in chaos.

"It comes back to our duty to maintain kamtibmas [security and public order]. Automatically the situation must be favourable. So based on this we took steps to be able to secure [the situation] from the respective groups so there would not be any friction on the ground", he said.

Utomo said that the Kamisan action participants had not submitted a prior notification with police. We from the police did not issue a permit. [We] didn't receive a notification from the protesters", he said.


Kamisan – Roughly translated as "Thursday Actions", every Thursday since January 18, 2007, the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) has been organising silent actions in front of the State Palace calling on President Yudhoyono to resolve past human rights cases. Over the years, regular Thursday actions have spread to other Indonesian cities.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Aksi Kamisan di Kota Malang Dibubarkan Kelompok Massa".]

Source: https://regional.kompas.com/read/2018/09/27/19153081/aksi-kamisan-di-kota-malang-dibubarkan-kelompok-massa

TNI chief won't order G30S/PKI film screenings but reiterates dangers of

Viva.co - September 27, 2018

Siti Ruqoyah – TNI (Armed Forces) chief Air Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto has finally responded to the challenge by former TNI chief retired General Gatot Nurmantyo to hold public screenings of the film G30S/PKI.

When Nurmantyo held the post of TNI commander, he ordered all army officers to hold joint public screenings of the film "The Betrayal of the 30 September Movement/Indonesian Communist Party" (Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI) throughout the country.

Unlike Nurmantyo, Tjahjanto says that there is no obligation to hold public screenings of the film. "[Holding] public screenings is the right of all citizens, not just today, but tomorrow or now, please go ahead anyone can watch", Tjahjanto said in response to a question by tvOne on Thursday September 27.

Tjahjanto explained that the film is part of Indonesia's history which cannot be forgotten. "We must absolutely reject communist ideology so that it doesn't infiltrate this Pancasila [the state ideology] state, so that the younger generation truly understands [the threat]", said Tjahjanto.

As has been reported, Nurmantyo has challenged Tjahjanto and Army Chief of Staff (KSAD) General Mulyono to order their officers to hold joint screenings of the G30S/PKI film.

"If the KSAD doesn't have the courage to order public screenings of the film G-30S/PKI, how can he expect to lead courageous and champion officers like Kostrad [Army Strategic Reserves Command, Green Berets], Kopassus [Special Forces], and other army officers. Why is the KSAD a coward... yes it would be fitting for him to resign. Remember! There's no death sentence for [not] ordering public screenings...", wrote Nurmantyo on his Twitter account @Nurmantyo_Gatot.

Nurmantyo has called on the KSAD not to be afraid to order his subordinates to hold public screenings of the film G30S/PKI saying that that if they prohibit this then the only consequence would be being removed from his post.

Nurmantyo also warned that army officers are courageous and super determined and it is inappropriate for them to be led by a cowardly leader.


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 "Ditantang Gatot Nurmantyo Nobar Film G30S/PKI, Ini Kata Panglima TNI".]

Source: https://www.viva.co.id/berita/nasional/1078927-ditantang-gatot-nurmantyo-nobar-film-g30s-pki-ini-kata-panglima-tni

Labour & migrant workers

Prabowo linked trade union claims workers had more rights under Suharto

RMOL - September 28, 2018

Adityo Nugroho – A trade union leader linked to presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto says he regrets the issuance of Government Regulation Number 78/2015 on Wages because it abolishes trade union's right to negotiate wage increases.

"As a result of PP 78/2015, trade unions have no right to negotiate", said Indonesian Employees Trade Union Confederation (KSPI) chairperson Said Iqbal in a discussion titled "Development in the Interests of the People Vs IMF and World Bank Neoliberal Development", at the House of Representatives (DPR) complex in Senayan, Jakarta, on Friday September 28.

According to Said, the abolition of trade union's right to negotiate followed pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. This pressure, he added, threatens workers' lives and the national economy.

He then made a comparison with the era of former president Suharto's New Order dictatorship. Said said that during the Suharto era, which is referred to as being authoritarian, trade union's rights to negotiate were not abolished.

Back then, he added, Suharto established the Wage Council, which although it was deemed by workers to be authoritarian, at least the right to negotiate still existed. This is unlike the era of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo where workers have been given no space to negotiate wage rises.

"Although before there was the Wage Council and we saw it as authoritarian, at least the right to negotiate still existed. But now it has been abolished", he explained. (ian)


On May Day this year, Said Iqbal and the KSPI officially declared their support for former Special Forces (Kopassus) commander and Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) chairperson retired General Prabowo Subianto in the 2019 presidential election. In 2014 they also backed Prabowo's failed 2014 presidential bid and in 2017 they supported the Prabowo backed Anies Baswedan-Sandiaga Uno ticket in the religious and ethnically divisive Jakarta elections. This included taking part in protests by hard-line Islamic forces seeking to oust incumbent Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama – an ethnic Chinese Christian – who lost the election to Baswedan and was subsequently jailed on trumped up blasphemy charges.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "KSPI: Buruh Bisa Berunding Upah Di Era Soeharto, Tidak Di Bawah Jokowi".]

Source: https://politik.rmol.co/read/2018/09/28/359517/KSPI:-Buruh-Bisa-Berunding-Upah-Di-Era-Soeharto,-Tidak-Di-Bawah-Jokowi-

Blitar police take over classrooms as teachers go on strike

Jakarta Post - September 27, 2018

Jakarta – Police officers in Blitar, East Java, are stepping into classrooms across the regency to replace contract teachers who have been on strike since Monday.

"It was our initiative to help the community," Blitar Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Anissullah M Ridha said on Wednesday as quoted by kompas.com. "Our orders are to help the community in any way we can. Since there are no teachers in schools, we can [teach the students]."

He said that around 150 police officers have been assigned to elementary and junior high schools across 16 districts in Blitar regency. "There are five to six schools in every district," he said.

Anissullah added that some officers were teaching specific subjects they had knowledge of, while others were providing more general lessons.

"[Officers] who have no expertise in a particular subject teach general knowledge, such as how to identify hoaxes," he said. (kmt/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/27/blitar-police-take-over-classrooms-as-teachers-go-on-strike.html

Jakarta contract workers stage rally demanding permanent employment

Jakarta Post - September 26, 2018

Jakarta – Thousands of Jakarta's long-serving category 2 contract workers staged a rally in front of City Hall in Central Jakarta on Wednesday, the same day when selections for civil servants officially began.

Wearing scout uniforms and erecting banners that urged the city administration to raise their status to that of civil servants, they said they deserved a better living as they had been serving for years but earned little for it.

"We want category 2 contract workers to be hired as civil servants. We have served for years in Jakarta and we want change," said Samsul, a contract worker in Tanah Tinggi subdistrict, Johar Baru, Central Jakarta, as reported by tribunnews.com.

Unlike category 1 workers, category 2 contract workers' salaries are not covered in the regional budget (APBD) or state budget (APBN). They have long demanded to be permanently employed so that they can earn the provincial minimum wage.

The government stipulates that contract workers wishing to become civil servants need to undergo a test. However, the workers demand that their years of service should be taken into account. They also complained about the uncertainty of their status because they could be replaced by new contract workers at any time.

There were 11,049 contractors working at various provincial government institutions across the city who obtained the statement of responsibility letter (SPTJM) that was validated by the National Civil Service Agency, according to the protesters. (fac)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/26/jakarta-contract-workers-stage-rally-demanding-permanent-employment.html

Political parties & elections

2 years imprisonment for RT, RW heads involved in campaigns: Panwaslu

Jakarta Post - September 26, 2018

Jakarta – The Jakarta Elections Supervisory Committee (Panwaslu) has reminded the heads of neighborhood units (RT) and community units (RW) not to get involved in campaign activities for the 2019 presidential and legislative elections. Anyone found doing so will face sanctions in line with prevailing regulations.

South Jakarta Panwaslu chairman Muchtar Taufiq cited Elections Supervisory Agency Regulation No. 28/2018 in his warning. Violators could face two years in prison or be ordered to pay Rp 24 million (US$1,608) in fines.

"If they become members of a campaign team, there will be a [conflict of interest] because they receive operational funds from the city's budget each month," Muchtar said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

Jakarta Governor Regulation No. 171/2016 on RT and RW guidelines also forbids RT and RW heads from taking part in political activities, Muchtar said.

He added that they should instead allow each candidate to campaign in their area and give them fair treatment. (cal)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/26/2-years-imprisonment-for-rt-rw-heads-involved-in-campaigns-panwaslu.html

Blasphemy & hate speech

Medan police officer imprisoned for shredding Quran

Jakarta Post - September 26, 2018

Apriadi Gunawan, Jakarta – The Medan District Court in North Sumatra has sentenced a police officer to 16 months in prison for shredding and dumping copies of the Quran into the gutter.

The officer, Tommy Daniel Patar Hutabarat, was found guilty of blasphemy as stipulated under Article 156 of the Criminal Code. "We sentenced the defendant to one year and four months in prison," presiding judge Sibarulina Ginting said on Tuesday.

Tommy was recorded by a CCTV camera when he stole copies of the Quran from a mosque at Adam Malik Hospital in Medan in May.

After he went in to use the bathroom, Tommy was seen taking four copies of the Quran and taking them back into the restroom, where shredded two copies and dumped them in the gutter. He left the other two copies on top of a concrete hedge beside it.

Tommy then left the mosque and went to his car to retrieve his bags and accompany his wife who was going into labor. His motives remain unclear, but he claimed that he had heard voices in his head telling him to destroy the holy books.

However, the judges agreed that the defendant did not suffer from a mental illness because he still worked at the Police's Medical Department. (ris/ahw)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/26/medan-police-officer-imprisoned-for-shredding-quran.html

Fake news & black campaigns

I am not PKI, says Jokowi

Jakarta Post - September 27, 2018

Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has called on Indonesians to be aware of fake news in the upcoming simultaneous legislative and presidential elections, while dismissing once again rumors that he was a member of the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

During a land certificate distribution ceremony on Wednesday, Jokowi said people should maintain unity and harmony between one another amid differences that could emerge during the elections.

"Elections happen every five years. We can't let that divide us," he said during the ceremony in South Tangerang, Banten, as quoted by Antara.

He added that fake news would spread in order to take down rivals because the country was entering the political year.

Jokowi said the rumor that he was a PKI member started in 2014 when he was running for the presidency.

During that time, he said, social media had been awash with accusations that he was member of the party whose ideology is banned in Indonesia. However, he denied the accusation.

"The PKI was banned in 1965, I was born in 1961. Is it possible for a toddler to join the party?" he said. "I wanted to let the rumors die a natural death, but some people believed it so I had to clear myself."

Instead of spreading rumors and fake news to take down rivals, the former Jakarta governor is asking candidates in the 2019 elections to communicate their programs, ideas and achievements. (ris)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/26/i-am-not-pki-says-jokowi.html

Indonesian government to hold weekly 'fake news' briefings

The Guardian - September 27, 2018

Kate Lamb, Jakarta – Indonesia's communications ministry has announced plans to hold weekly briefings on fake news, in an effort to educate the public about the spread of disinformation in the world's third-largest democracy.

Communications minister Rudiantara said the initiative was designed to help the Indonesian public "sort through the news" in the lead up to what is widely expected to be a heated presidential election scheduled for next April.

The initiative would be kicked off as soon as possible, said the minister, and fake news stories – known locally as "hoax" news or "black campaigns" – would be accompanied by factual explanations.

"Every week we will announce hoax news," Rudiantara told CNN Indonesia. "The ministry will not just stamp a story as hoax, but we will also provide facts."

Urging Indonesians to refrain from spreading fake news on their social media accounts, Rudiantara said the exercise was part of the ministry's push for 'digital literacy' in the political arena.

In Indonesia, which has one of the highest rates of Facebook and Twitter usage among its citizens, fake news is regularly spread on social networks to fan existing social, ethnic and religious divisions for political gain.

Analysts have expressed concern about the role fake news might play in the upcoming election, as well as the spread of hate speech.

Rudiantara said the weekly briefings were designed to encourage Indonesians to think more critically about the news they consume.

A specialised ministerial content control team, comprised of 70 people, will be tasked with identifying fake news stories. In addition to the public briefings, information will also be posted on stophoax.id, a website designed by the ministry.

Days after the presidential campaign officially kicked off last week, with both pairs of candidates committing to a peaceful campaign and releasing symbolic white doves, a salacious website detailing the alleged affairs of one of the candidates appeared online.

The privately registered website has since been blocked by the communications ministry.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/27/indonesian-government-to-hold-weekly-fake-news-briefings

Surveys & opinion polls

Rupiah depreciation affected public support for Jokowi

Tempo - September 28, 2018

Muhammad Hendartyo, Jakarta – Indonesian pollster LSI Denny JA claims that rupiah depreciation in the past weeks affected the level of people's support for incumbent presidential hopeful Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo.

"The rising dollar exchange rate reduced the support for Joko Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin," said LSI Denny JA researcher Ardian Sopa after presenting the pollster's latest survey on Thursday, September 27.

According to the poll that put forth the question of rupiah exchange rate to the US dollar, out of 1,200 respondents, 54 percent were aware that the exchange rate once reached the level of Rp15,000 per USD.

Asked whether they were happy with the situation, 84.3 percent answered that they were not thrilled by Rupiah's weakened exchange rate and 83.8 percent stating that they are worried that the economic situation would worsen.

The data from LSI Denny JA showed that 50 percent of its 1,200 respondents thought that their level of support toward President Jokowi would stay the same while 20.9 percent said that their support toward Jokowi dropped following rupiah depreciation.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/09/28/055922053/Rupiah-Depreciation-Affected-Public-Support-for-Jokowi

Jokowi more religious than Prabowo: Survey

Jakarta Post - September 27, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – A recent survey has revealed that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is considered to be more religious than his challenger in the 2019 presidential election, Prabowo Subianto.

A survey commissioned by Indikator Politik Indonesia polled 1,220 respondents from Sept. 1 to 6, asking them about their views on the two presidential candidates.

In terms of personal branding, 76 percent of the respondents consider Jokowi to be religious and pious, while 58 percent say Prabowo is religious and pious.

"Jokowi has, since last year, successfully portrayed himself as a religious person. He has frequently visited ulama, kyai [religious teachers] and religious figures across the country," Indikator executive director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said on Wednesday.

Since early last year, Jokowi has made many visits to Islamic boarding schools, mostly across Java, and met with senior religious figures from various Muslim groups in different regions.

In April, Jokowi also invited representatives of the self-proclaimed 212 Rally Alumni group, which comprises groups and activists who participated in nonviolent protests in 2016 to call for the prosecution of then-Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, an ally of Jokowi, over blasphemy.

Burhanuddin said Jokowi's running mate Ma'ruf Amin, a prominent Muslim cleric, also contributed to the newfound religious branding, though it was not the main factor.

Eighty-two percent of respondents said Ma'ruf was religious and pious, while 63 percent said the same for Prabowo's running mate, Sandiaga Uno.

Jokowi has been labeled as anti-Islam and pro-communist by hard-line groups, while Prabowo is portrayed as pro-Islam because he is a longtime ally of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and close to the Muslim conservative groups that were behind the 212 rally.

Burhanuddin said Jokowi and Prabowo represented different Muslim blocks with different perspectives.

"For example, PAN [National Mandate Party] and PKS [Prosperous Justice Party] represent modernist Muslim groups. That's why such groups throw support behind Prabowo," he said.

Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) senior politician Maruarar Sirait acknowledged that the anti-Islam image associated with Jokowi was of concern for the Jokowi camp, saying that the decision to pair Jokowi with Ma'ruf, an influential Muslim cleric, was a way to address the issue.

"We hope that people can engage in constructive discussions [on issues] such as economic problems, rather than sectarian issues," he said. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/27/jokowi-more-religious-than-prabowo-survey.html

Jokowi-Ma'ruf holds huge lead over Prabowo-Sandiaga in new survey

Coconuts Jakarta - September 26, 2018

A new survey indicates that more Indonesians have made up their minds about who to vote for in next April's presidential election, although President Joko Widodo and Ma'ruf Amin still hold a comfortable lead over Prabowo Subianto and Sandiaga Uno.

The survey, carried out by pollster Indikator Politik Indonesia, seems to show that Prabowo and Sandiaga will need to work very hard indeed if they hope to overcome the incumbent.

"In the simulation between the two pairings, Jokowi-Ma'ruf Amin gained 57.7% while Prabowo-Sandiaga Uno gained 32.3% of the votes," Indikator Politik Indonesia Executive Director Burhanuddin Muhtadi said at a press conference today, as quoted by Kompas.

Both Jokowi-Ma'ruf and Prabowo-Sandiaga scored slightly higher compared to the first survey conducted by Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) right after they officially announced their candidacies in early August, signaling a decrease in undecided voters after just over a month. In LSI's survey, 18.3% were undecided or did not wish to reveal their preferences. In Indikator's survey, undecided voters decreased to 9% while 1% said they would abstain from voting.

Indikator's survey also showed that respondents perceived Jokowi as having more positive traits over Prabowo, with more respondents calling the incumbent honest, caring, able to lead and religious than his rival. However, respondent were more likely to call Prabowo stern and wise than Jokowi.

When it came to their running mates, respondents conversely perceived Sandiaga as having more positive traits than Ma'ruf, particularly in their perception of him being caring, stern, wise, and able to lead. Ma'ruf, on the other hand, is seen as the more honest, trustworthy and religious candidate.

Indikator's survey was carried out on Sept. 1-6 and involved 1,220 participants randomly selected from throughout Indonesia. The survey has a 2.9% margin of error and a 95% confidence level. Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/jokowi-maruf-holds-huge-lead-prabowo-sandiaga-new-survey/

Environment & natural disasters

Questions raised about tsunami alerts as death toll expected to reach

Washington Post - September 30, 2018

Jakarta – Just 34 minutes after the latest major earthquake to strike Indonesia, officials called off a tsunami warning. Aid agencies and others – still dealing with the aftermath of a devastating quake in August – breathed a sigh of relief.

What they didn't know was, just about that same time, a 3-metre wall of seawater was tearing through the city of Palu.

Amid the roar of onrushing sea and terrified cries for help, the tsunami tore homes off their foundations, snapped palm trees and dragged away victims – some preparing for a beach festival. Bodies were later left on sands as the waters receded, and some were dragged out to sea.

More than 420 died in Palu alone, officials said Saturday as they began to take stock of the devastation and count the dead amid fears the tally could rise significantly from the 7.5 magnitude quake and the tsunami that churned over parts of Sulawesi, about 1900 kilometres northwest of Jakarta.

Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla, in an interview with local media, said the death toll could reach well into the thousands.

Among the dead was a young Indonesian air traffic controller who stayed at his post when the earthquake hit to ensure that a plane carrying hundreds of passengers took off safely. He jumped from the tower and died before a medical helicopter could reach him.

Elsewhere, rescue teams confronted washed out roads and bridges as they tried to reach another city, Donggala, and other areas completely cut off by the quake and tsunami.

Indonesian officials also may face another reckoning over why the tsunami alerts were pulled even as a disaster was roaring ashore, raising questions about the level of monitoring and post-quake analysis in a nation along some of the world's most active fault lines.

"People were still going about their activities on the beach, and did not immediately run," said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Management Agency, who said that hundreds were gathered in Palu for a beach party. The number of deaths, he said, will "continue to rise as the search continues."

Indonesian officials and aid agencies struggled with battered communications, destroyed roads and landslides. Even aid deliveries by sea have been a challenge since Palu's port was badly damaged by the tsunami.

The second badly-hit city, Donggala, remained inaccessible after a main bridge collapsed.

"We're now getting limited communications about the destruction in Palu city, but we have heard nothing from Donggala and this is extremely worrying," the Red Cross said in a statement. "There are more than 300,000 people living there. This is already a tragedy, but it could get much worse."

Rescue officials will now have to deal with the impact of the second major earthquake in Indonesia in two months.

In August, a 6.9 earthquake and a series of strong aftershocks hit the island of Lombok, south of Sulawesi, killing more than 450 people. World Vision, a relief agency, planned to send assessment teams to Palu and expected to reach Sunday, but still had many of their staff in Lombok responding to the destruction and widespread loss of homes there.

"Our own staff have been affected and their own homes damaged. We are deploying in teams but at this stage communications with Palu, on the island of Sulawesi, is extremely challenging so we, like others, are grappling with understanding the full impact of this disaster," said the aid agency's national director in Indonesia, Doseba Sinay.

Palu's airport was closed Saturday, its runway badly cracked from the quake. Rescue workers have resorted to long drives through blocked roads amid the constant threat of landslides.

Yenni Suryani, country manager for Catholic Relief Services in Indonesia, said getting access to both cities is a "huge problem."

"With the airport damaged, emergency responders and local aid groups are having to drive overland 10 to 12 hours," Suryani said. Catholic Relief Services' partners were trying to drive to Palu but only got halfway there and had to resume travel in the morning, she said.

"Those long hours on the road are going to mean hours lost getting assistance to people who need it in the next few days," she added. A woman lays while being treated outside at Army hospital following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

A woman lays while being treated outside at Army hospital following earthquakes and a tsunami in Palu, Central Sulawesi. Photo: AP

Nugroho, the disaster agency's spokesman, said thousands of homes, hotels, shopping centres hospitals and other public facilities were damaged. Hospital patients in Palu are being treated outside the building to avoid the danger of potential aftershocks.

In Palu, about 17, 000 people have been evacuated, scattered across centres in 24 locations.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the "Ring of Fire," an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. Last month, a powerful earthquake hit the island of Lombok, followed by a series of strong quakes throughout the month. More than 500 people were killed.

In December 2004, a magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/questions-raised-about-indonesian-tsunami-alerts-as-death-toll-expected-to-reach-thousands-20180930-p506wh.html

Fears for thousands of people in Sulawesi quake, tsunami rescue

Sydney Morning Herald - September 30, 2018

James Massola, Jewel Topsfield, Amilia Rosa & Karuni Rompies, Makassar, Indonesia – Grave fears are held for thousands of people living in the epicentre of a huge earthquake and tsunami that struck the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia, as the official toll from the disaster rose to more than 800.

Overnight on Saturday, Vice-President Jusuf Kalla warned it could reach well into the thousands.

The Australian government said it was not aware of any Australians affected by the earthquake but was continuing to make inquiries with local authorities.

Corpses lined the coastal city of Palu as the National Disaster Management Agency continued the grim process of identifying those who perished in the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and 1.5 metre tsunami on Friday.

However the Indonesian government and aid groups fear the number of casualties could be even higher in Donggala, about 30 kilometres from Palu, which was still without electricity on Sunday. Authorities had little information about conditions on the ground for the first two days after the quake and tsunami hit.

About 2.4 million people live on the Palu-Koro fault line. Palu is home to about 330,000 people and Donggala about 270,000 people.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho is due to provide a comprehensive update on the situation on the ground late on Sunday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was "terribly saddened" to hear of the tragic events and Australia "stands ready to assist". He had called Indonesian President Joko Widodo overnight to express his sympathies and pledge support: "If he needs our help, he'll have it."

As President Jokowi flew to Palu, evacuations continued of victims buried under the rubble of what was once the Roa-Roa Hotel in Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi.

Seven of 30 paragliders, who were staying at the hotel while competing at an event in Palu, were among the missing. Voices could be heard screaming from the ruins of the eight-storey building.

Buildings and trees were swept away near Palu due to liquefaction, a process where the sheer amount of liquid in the soil turned it into a watery mud. Prison inmates fled when a jail partially collapsed in Palu, with half of its 560 convicts going missing.

"We had limited number of guards and they were panic trying to save themselves because some walls collapsed. It was an extraordinary incident," the prison head, Ady Yan Ricoh said.

Looters ransacked a badly damaged mall in Palu. "It is believed there are still people trapped in the mall," said a reporter from MetroTV. "I can smell the very strong odour of decaying bodies."

One man, Ferry, said he was looking for his wife. "I wanted to go to the hospital to look for her," he told MetroTV. "But my neighbour said I should first check the mall. So I went here and found her bag. I remember she wore jeans and carried this black bag."

Palu airport reopened to commercial flights on Sunday, although humanitarian and emergency flights were prioritised.

In Makassar, the largest city on Sulawesi, thousands of people scrambled to find flights that would take them to the disaster zone. The Indonesian military provided about 100 seats per flight on their Hercules aircraft for those seeking to go home, but emergency supplies were given priority.

Nikita waited at the airport from Saturday afternoon, desperate to get home to her husband and two-year-old son. She had only had brief contact with some of her family, and her aunt and uncle were thought to have been swept away in the tsunami.

"Can you please help me, can't you ask someone to find my son? Please, please, can you ask anyone, his name is Zidan Anugrah Pratama, he's two," she said, showing a photo of her son and husband. "None of my family members saw them. I don't know what has happened to them."

Former AusAid Deputy Director General Peter McCawley said Australia's offer of financial assistance should be immediate and unconditional.

"Aid donors often attach onerous conditions to the provision of aid. But the inclusion of conditionality in an offer of emergency aid such as this would be inappropriate," he said in the Lowy Institute. "Second, Australian support should be provided in close cooperation with key Indonesian agencies."

This latest tragedy comes about seven weeks after the Indonesian islands of Lombok and Bali were devastated by a series of earthquakes that killed at least 623 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2004, an earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Red Cross Australia spokesman Ian Wolverton said the agency had been on the ground from the outset and while the full extent of the destruction was unknown but "it is clear the humanitarian impact is very high".

The agency was ready to send ambulance crews, first aid responders, assessment teams and logisticians, he added.

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/fears-for-thousands-of-people-in-sulawesi-quake-tsunami-rescue-20180930-p506y6.html

Disaster Mitigation Agency says funding cuts have left tsunami detection

CNN Indonesia - September 30, 2018

Jakarta – The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) says that since 2012 Indonesia has had no functioning early tsunami detection buoys.

"Since 2012 no buoys have been operational, yet they are needed for early warning. You can check with the BMKG [Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency], why since 2012 none have been procured, perhaps it's a problem of funds", said BNPB data and information centre head and BNPB spokesperson Sutopo Purwonugroho at a press conference in Jakarta on earthquake relief efforts in Palu and Donggala, Sulawesi, on Sunday September 30.

During the press conference, he also lamented poor disaster mitigation efforts which have been hindered by a lack of funding.

"Finding for disaster [management] has continued to be cut every year. The threat of disasters has gone up, the number of disasters has risen, but the BNPB's budget has in fact declined. This has affected mitigation efforts. The installation of early warning devices has been limited due to the continually declining budget", said Purwonugroho.

In December last year Purwonugroho issued a similar warning stating that Indonesia's 22 buoys spread across the archipelago are in a state of total disrepair.

The early warning system comprises a network of floating buoys in mid-ocean which detect tidal waves and tsunamis. The buoys are one of the fastest early warning technology options available to detect the occurrence of tsunamis.

Purwonugroho's statement about the inoperative buoys was also confirmed by BMKG Tsunami and Earthquake Centre head Rahmat Triyono. "Yes, there are indeed no more [functioning buoys], so they no longer support BMKG data", Triyono told CNN Indonesia by phone.

Triyono explained that the buoys are part of the Indonesia Tsunami Early Warning System grand design which was planned after the Aceh tsunami and earthquake in 2004. The buoys were installed at various points in the open sea from the Indian Ocean to Sumatra, South Java and so on.

"Because they are in the open sea there is no supervision. In fact they have all been lost. Lost to fisherpeople, some were taken, caught by anchors, dragged away by ships", said Triyono.

"Some have even been found in the Angke Estuary after they were taken by fisherpeople. Because of their GPS they could be tracked. When [we] arrived they had already been cannibalised, dismantled".

Triyono himself stated that previously the agency responsible for the procurement of the buoys was the Agency for Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), not the BMKG.

"In the year I began [working with the BMKG] in 2007-2009 they had begun being installed in the open sea. But from the start they weren't able to send supporting data to us, to the BMKG. What's clear is that in 2011 they all been installed and that data should have been sent to BMKG to support modeling", he said.

Triyono stated that the BMKG is still carrying out its early warning function but without data from the buoys they have to rely a system based on tsunami modeling.

"So it's using tsunami modeling, scenarios. Currently we have around 18,000 tsunami models", he said. "But if this included data from the buoys, of course the scenario would be more accurate, because there would be observation data". (tst/vws)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "BNPB: Seluruh Buoy Deteksi Tsunami di Indonesia Rusak".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20180930160115-20-334439/bnpb-seluruh-buoy-deteksi-tsunami-di-indonesia-rusak

Indonesian air traffic controller hailed as quake hero

Agence France Presse - September 30, 2018

An Indonesian air traffic controller is being posthumously hailed as a hero for refusing to leave his post despite devastating earthquakes so that he could guide a passenger jet safely off the ground.

Twenty-one-year-old Anthonius Gunawan Agung was on duty in the air traffic control tower at Palu's Mutiara SIS Al-Jufrie airport when a series of earthquakes struck the city in Sulawesi island on Friday.

Officials say he refused to leave his post until he got an Batik Air plane off the ground, while his colleagues who were not handling aircraft departed.

"When the quake happened, he was giving clearance to Batik Air to take off and waited for the plane to be safely airborne before finally leaving the ATC cabin tower," said AirNav Indonesia spokesman Yohanes Harry Sirait.

After Flight 6231 was safely in the air the quakes became ever-stronger, culminating in a 7.5 magnitude jolt and tsunami. At least 832 people are confirmed dead.

Eventually, Agung jumped from the top of the crumbling four-storey tower in a desperate bid to escape, breaking his leg and suffering serious internal injuries.

He was taken to a nearby hospital where he received basic treatment, but died before a helicopter could arrive to transport him to a better-equipped facility.

The company will raise Agung's rank by two levels as a sign of appreciation for his extraordinary dedication, AirNav said in a statement. Local station Metro TV was among those who hailed Agung's "heroic act".

The Indonesian archipelago sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", where tectonic plates collide and many of the world's volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-6223733/Indonesian-air-traffic-controller-hailed-quake-hero.html

Hundreds dead after earthquake, tsunami hit Sulawesi

Sydney Morning Herald - September 29, 2018

James Massola, Karuni Rompies & Amilia Rosa, Jakarta – At least 384 people have been killed after a series of earthquakes and a tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, with hundreds more people feared dead as rescue workers scramble to reach the hardest hit areas.

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake was the strongest of the more than two dozen earthquakes that hit central Sulawesi on Friday, while a tsunami up to six metres high also struck coastal areas.

National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Saturday afternoon that in addition to the 384 dead in Palu, the regional capital, 540 people have been injured and 29 people are missing.

There are no figures yet available for the nearby city of Donggala – the hardest hit area.

"The intensity of the earthquake in Donggala is higher than in Palu, so we suspect we'll see a high number of victims in Donggala, although Palu has a larger population than Donggala," Sutopo said.

Donggala is a city of about 270,000 people, while the nearby city of Palu is home to about 330,000 people.

Sutopo said the bodies of numerous people killed by the tsunami had been found on the shores of local beaches, but there was no official word yet on how many lives had been lost. He said the speed of the tsunami as it was approaching the shore had reached 800km/h.

The Disaster Agency spokesman added that authorities believed hundreds of people were preparing for a festival due to be held near the beach in Palu on Sunday, and that they were now missing because of the tsunami.

Thousands of buildings have collapsed in Palu city, including the four-storey Antapura hospital, the eight-storey Roa-Roa hotel, a shopping mall and a bridge.

Indonesian authorities are working frantically to restore electricity and communications.

"The most important things to do right now are fixing the electricity, communications, sending in food, also food for children and babies, tents, drugs. We need drugs for field hospitals. We also need people to help the victims. That's why TNI and police have sent some 700 personnel, there are also some volunteers," Sutopo said.

Palu's main airport has sustained heavy damage to its runway and to its control centre. New navigation equipment for the airport was dispatched by helicopter from Makassar on Saturday morning.

Commercial flights to Palu have been suspended until October 4, with only emergency and humanitarian flights allowed to land.

Smaller airports were still operating but are unable to receive heavy aircraft, while Palu's port was also damaged and the road between Poso and Palu has been blocked because of a landslide. A large ship was washed 70 metres inland by the wave.

Some of the worst hit areas include the districts of South Banewa, Central Banewa, Sinhue and Soyol in Donggala Regency, "but we have not been able to access these areas" Sutopo said.

An earlier magnitude 6.1 quake in central Sulawesi killed several people, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses.

The strongest quake struck at 6.02pm local time (8.02pm AEST) on Friday and tsunami. It was followed by at least two dozen aftershocks. Sulawesi is about 1600 kilometres north-east of Jakarta.

Amateur footage of the tsunami has gone viral on social media and has been shown on local TV stations. It depicts huge waves crashing into houses along Palu's shoreline.

A spokeswoman for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs said it was not aware of any Australians that have been affected by the earthquake but was continuing to make enquiries with local authorities.

"At this time, details and impacts of the 7.5 magnitude earthquake [reported as 7.7 locally] on Minahassa Peninsula, Sulawesi, and a subsequent tsunami are still emerging, and extent of the damage is unknown," the spokeswoman said.

This latest quake comes after a series of earthquakes in July and August killed at least 623 people and destroyed hundreds of thousands of buildings on the Indonesian island of Lombok, which is situated hundreds of kilometres south-west of Sulawesi.

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo tweeted late on Friday evening: "At sunset an earthquake hit Central Sulawesi and surroundings. I am monitoring [the development] and keep my staff on alert to deal with all possibilities after the quakes. Hoping all our brothers and sisters there staying calm and safe".

The national search and rescue agency would deploy a large ship and helicopters to aid with the operation, said agency chief Muhammad Syaugi, adding that he had not been able to contact his team in Palu.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire and is regularly hit by earthquakes. In 2004, an earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

– with Reuters

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/death-toll-to-rise-after-earthquake-tsunami-hit-sulawesi-20180929-p506t3.html

All Indonesian reclamation plans need review, eco group says

Jakarta Post - September 28, 2018

Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – Environmental group Green Institute Indonesia has called on the government to review other reclamation plans outside Jakarta to follow the Jakarta administration's suit in revoking reclamation projects in the capital on the back of developers' failure to obtain required permits.

One of the concerned projects is the Tanjung Benoa reclamation project in Bali, where its developer PT Tirta Wahana Bali has reportedly been unable to extend the project's location permit. The location permit, one among other permits required for reclamation work, expired on Aug. 25.

"Many [environment activists] welcome the expiration," the Green Institute said in a statement on Friday.

Development has hit several snags in the past two years amid opposition from local residents citing damages the project might cause to the environment.

The institute said 20 reclamation projects needed to be reviewed besides the Jakarta and Bali reclamation projects, including those in Ria Kenjeran Beach in Surabaya, East Java; Losari Beach in Makassar, South Sulawesi; and Talise Beach in Palu, Central Sulawesi.

Meanwhile, Bogor Agriculture Institute oceanographer Alan F. Koropitan said the construction of man-made islets would bring negative impacts on the coastal environment. Coastal areas across the country, he further said, consist of estuaries and mangrove forests as the breeding ground for fish.

"The landscape changes, as a result of the reclamation project, will cost us a lot. It will affect our fisheries stocks, and the rehabilitation costs will be much bigger [than the reclamation costs]," Alan said in a video made available by the institute. (dmr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/28/all-indonesian-reclamation-plans-need-review-eco-group-says.html

Tsunami hits Indonesian cities after powerful earthquake

Associated Press - September 28, 2018

Associated Press, Jakarta – A powerful earthquake has rocked the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, triggering a 1.5-metre (5ft) tsunami that an official said swept away houses in at least two cities.

The tsunami hit Palu, the capital of central Sulawesi province, a smaller city in Donggala and several other coastal settlements, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster agency.

He said families were reported missing and communications and power supplies were disrupted.

"The cut to telecommunications and darkness are hampering efforts to obtain information," he said on Friday. "All national potential will be deployed, and tomorrow morning we will deploy Hercules [military transport planes] and helicopters to provide assistance in tsunami-affected areas."

Indonesian TV showed smartphone footage of a large wave hitting Palu, and people screaming and running in fear. The water crashed into buildings and a large mosque that was already damaged from the quake.

A magnitude 7.5 earthquake on Friday was followed by numerous strong aftershocks, including one of magnitude 6.7. An earlier magnitude 6.1 quake in central Sulawesi killed several people, injured 10 and damaged dozens of houses.

The head of the meteorology and geophysics agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, said the tsunami waves were up to three metres (10ft) high. She said a tsunami warning triggered by the biggest quake was in place for about half an hour and was lifted after the tsunami was over.

Sutopo said the military would deploy troops to Palu and Donggala and the national police would mobilise officers to help with the emergency response.

Palu's airport halted operations for 24 hours owing to earthquake damage, according to AirNav, which oversees airline traffic in Indonesia.

Indonesia is prone to earthquakes because of its location on the so-called Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and faultlines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004 a magnitude 9.1 quake off Sumatra in western Indonesia triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/28/tsunami-hits-indonesian-cities-after-powerful-earthquake

Coalition recommends dismantling existing islets in Jakarta Bay

Jakarta Post - September 27, 2018

Jakarta – The Save Jakarta Bay Coalition (KSTJ) is urging the Jakarta administration to dismantle the four existing reclamation projects on Jakarta Bay, citing the severe environmental damages they have caused in the surrounding area.

The recommendation came following Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan's decision on Wednesday to revoke permits for the reclamation of 13 man-made islets in Jakarta Bay.

Coalition member Tigor Hutapea pointed to islet G, which he said had caused land abrasion and water pollution. "Islet G is a lost cause. It's better for it to be dismantled," Tigor said as quoted by kompas.com.

He went on to say that islets C and D had caused tidal floods and regularly sent a bad odor into surrounding areas like Dadap and Muara Kamal.

"Considering the serious environmental impacts, we recommend that they be dismantled. However, if Anies can assure that the existence of those islets will not worsen the environmental damage and the islets can be managed at an affordable cost, then go ahead and use them as pleased," Tigor said.

Anies has said that a special team on reclamation management would monitor the impact of islets C, D, G and N on the Jakarta Bay. (nor)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/27/coalition-recommends-dismantling-existing-islets-in-jakarta-bay.html

Health & education

Depok getting tough on tobacco ads as city begins enforcing ban on

Coconuts Jakarta - September 27, 2018

Indonesia has some of the most lax regulations in the world regarding tobacco advertising, with images of cigarettes and cigarette logos popping up practically everywhere, including in billboards, on TV, and even near schools.

But the city of Depok seems to have finally woken up to the dangers of constant exposure to tobacco ads as the city's administration now appears serious about enforcing a four-year-old regulation against their presence in public areas.

This morning, the Depok city administration publicly announced that they had issued a circular to modern retailers and malls, signed by Mayor Mohammad Idris on Sept. 19, telling them to comply with a 2014 city regulation prohibiting the display of tobacco ads in their businesses.

"[The circular was issued] so that business owners, developers, or whoever is responsible complies with the regulation and begins to take down all ads promoting cigarettes," Depok Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) head Yayan Arianto said today, as quoted by Warta Kota.

The 2015 tobacco ad regulation states that modern retailers and malls caught putting up tobacco advertisement may be subject to an IDR50 million (US$3,354) fine and risk having their business permits pulled.

Those affected by the regulation have two weeks from today to start taking down tobacco ads before the city enforces sanctions. However, this does not mean that the affected business are prohibited from selling cigarettes.

The effects of Indonesia's deadly relationship with smoking has been well documented, with around 67.4 percent of all men over 15 in Indonesia being tobacco users (the highest rate in the world) and tobacco-related diseases killing at least 200,000 Indonesians per year. The government has shown little willingness to combat the country's smoking epidemic, failing to pass national laws banning tobacco advertising and refusing to ratify the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

In fact, in 2017, the House of Parliament tried to pass a tobacco bill aimed at rolling back regulations, including those on advertisement as well as health warnings on cigarette packs.

Luckily, that bill never passed into law, but, statistics-wise, Indonesia still has a hard time butting out and the ubiquity of tobacco advertising pretty much guarantees that the country will continue producing new generations of smokers if more drastic steps aren't taken. One study in 2016 found that around 30% of all Indonesian children have smoked a cigarette before the age of 10 (one of those, of course, being Indonesia's infamous smoking baby).

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/depok-getting-tough-tobacco-ads-city-begins-enforcing-ban-retailers-malls/

LGBT & same-sex marriage

In Indonesia, documentary depicts a transgender man's spiritual journey

Gay Star News - September 27, 2018

Rik Glauert – A charming mini-documentary shows one transgender man in Indonesia's spiritual journey.

God's Best Script was produced by Yayasan Gaya Nusantra. The Indonesia-based NGO shot Vincent Santosa's journey as part of its Mainstreaming Sexuality Project.

The project introduces diverse genders and sexualities to faith leaders and communities.

In God's Best Scropt, Santosa describes what he had to overcome during his transition. Even though it was difficult to find acceptance from friends, family, and society, his relationship with God saw him through.

'Many things confuse me between God and society', Santosa says. 'But deep down in my heart and mind, matters about God are personal'. 'It's up to the conscience', he also explains.

Santosa's partner, Agatha Ghina Hanan admires his strength. She explains that she's in awe of 'how he has struggled to survive and achieve what he wants, how he gives inspiration in every step that he takes'.

'The great thing about Agatha,' Santosa says, 'is that she managed to make me stay with one person for nearly five years'.

Being LGBTI in Indonesia

While being homosexual is not illegal in Indonesia, the LGBTI community has been increasingly under threat in the Muslim-majority country.

In 2017, two men in Indonesia's conservative Aceh province were publicly flogged 83 times for having sex in their private room.

Indonesian police raided two gay saunas in Jakarta and arrested 141 and 58 people in the same year.

In October 2017, the House of Representatives passed a proposed broadcasting bill that will potentially ban LGBTI characters from national television.

The LGBTI community in Indonesia is technically protected by law. But they face harassment by healthcare providers, difficulties in obtaining ID cards, and even rejection in the educational system.

The discrimination, therefore, makes LGBTI individuals highly vulnerable to HIV infection and mental trauma.

Source: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/in-indonesia-documentary-depicts-a-transgender-mans-spiritual-journey/

Corruption & abuse of power

Regent relieved of duty 3 minutes after inauguration due to corruption

Coconuts Jakarta - September 26, 2018

In what must be some sort of record for shortest reign by an Indonesian regent, Syahri Mulyo, who had been elected the leader of East Java's Tulungagung Regency in June, was officially inaugurated at a ceremony in Jakarta yesterday only to officially be relieved of his duties a mere three minutes later due to his suspect status in an ongoing corruption investigation.

No, it's not that Syahri just happened to be named a criminal suspect within minutes of his swearing in. In fact, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) named him a suspect for graft related to a number of infrastructure projects 19 days before the country's regional elections on June 27. But obviously that didn't prevent Syahri from winning the vote (by a decisive 59.8% to 40.2% margin no less).

That win, however, didn't prevent Syahri from being detained by the KPK. He is currently in holding at East Jakarta Police Headquarters pending his case's trial.

So yesterday's inauguration ceremony, which took place at the offices of the Interior Ministry in Jakarta, was essentially a procedural requirement so that Syahri's vice regent, Maryoto Birowo, who was sworn in at the same time, could then legally be named Tulungagung's acting regent in accordance with election law.

The KPK initially did not allow Syahri out of detention so that he could be inaugurated with other officials in East Java earlier this month, citing costs and security concerns, but they did allow him out briefly for yesterday's special ceremony at the Home Ministry office.

East Java Governor Soekarwo officially inaugurated Syahri and Maryoto at 1:54pm. At 1:57pm, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo gave Soekarwo a decree declaring that Syahri was now non-active due to his suspect status and that Maryoto would now be taking over as acting regent. Syahri was returned to his detention cell following the ceremony.

Syahri was named a suspect along with Blitar Mayor Muhammad Samanhudi Anwar for bribery related to a number of infrastructure projects in Tulungagung and Blitar. If proven guilty, his status as governor will be officially revoked.

Indonesia's political system is notoriously corrupt and while the KPK has made significant progress with numerous major busts in recent years, political parties continue to support candidates with track records of corruption. Dozens of ex-graft convicts are set to run in Indonesia regional elections next April.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/indonesian-regent-relieved-duty-3-minutes-inauguration-due-corruption-charges/

Hard-line & vigilante groups

FPI leader Rizieq Shihab has been overstaying in Saudi Arabia for

Coconuts Jakarta - September 28, 2018

So, there you have it. After followers of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader and fugitive Rizieq Shihab spent much of this week spinning conspiracy theories about why the firebrand cleric had not been allowed to leave Saudi Arabia and how he had been "intimidated" by Saudi authorities, it turned out that his troubles were simply due to a visa violation.

The Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Riyadh today dispelled the conspiracy theories, suggested by Rizieq's supporters without evidence, that the Indonesian and Saudi governments were working to keep the hardline leader from returning to Indonesia. According to the embassy, the reasonable reason for Rizieq being investigated by Saudi authorities is that he's been overstaying his visa for months.

"Based on KBRI Riyadh's investigation, right now the visa issued to Muhammad Rizieq Shihab to stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has exceeded its expiry date," Indonesian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel said in a press release today, as picked up by CNN Indonesia.

Agus explained that Rizieq initially entered Saudi in May 2017 using a type of business visa that did not permit his employment while in Saudi (his lawyer previously claimed Rizieq was on a special invitational visa). His visa was valid for one year and allowed for multiple entries with 90-day stay periods per entry.

"This visa actually expired on May 9, 2018 and was extended under visa No 603724XXXX until July 20, 2018," Agus said.

Despite Rizieq legally being in the wrong, Agus said KBRI is ready to assist him in facing any legal trouble he has in Saudi Arabia, as assistance is afforded by the embassy to all Indonesian citizens abroad.

Rizieq has been living in Saudi Arabia for over a year now due to numerous legal problems he faces in his home country. On top of his difficulties in returning to Indonesia (something he hopes presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto can help him with), Rizieq's followers recently revealed that the firebrand cleric was barred by Saudi Arabian authorities from traveling to Malaysia, and that they suspected that the Saudis have been in cahoots with the Indonesian government to prevent Rizieq from coming home and exert his influence in the 2019 presidential election.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/fpi-leader-rizieq-shihab-overstaying-saudi-arabia-months-embassy/

Fugitive FPI leader Rizieq Shihab reportedly barred from going to

Coconuts Jakarta - September 26, 2018

Rizieq Shihab, the founder of Indonesia's infamous Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), has been living in Saudi Arabia for over a year now due to numerous legal problems he faces in his home country.

On top of his difficulties in returning to Indonesia (something he hopes presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto can help him with), Rizieq's followers have revealed that the firebrand cleric was barred by Saudi Arabian authorities from traveling to Malaysia.

Yesterday, several representatives of FPI as well as the National Movement to Guard the Ulama Fatwa (GNPF) – a prominent hardliner affiliated political group – met with Deputy House Speaker Fadli Zon, a member of Prabowo's Gerindra party, to ask for help about what they characterized as "intimidation" towards Rizieq by Saudi Arabian authorities.

According to GNPF representative Nasrulloh Nasution, Rizieq tried to obtain a visa to fly to Malaysia in July to complete the doctoral dissertation he had been working on at Universitas Sains Islam Malaysia. However, his request was denied without reason and further follow-up inquiries with officials did not yield any answers.

"This discriminatory and intimidating treatment should not be experienced by Indonesian citizens abroad. Because Indonesian citizens abroad are also guaranteed legal protection without exception," Nasrulloh said as quoted by Detik.

It's never exactly been clear on what legal basis Rizieq has been staying in Saudi Arabia, as he is not a Saudi citizen and it is extremely difficult for most Indonesians to even get short-term visas to enter the country for religious reasons like the hajj pilgrimage. His associates have claimed that he has a special "invitational" visa and that his expenses in the country were even being paid for by the Saudi government.

It is also not clear if he has left Saudi Arabia at any point since he first went into hiding there in May 2017 after he was named a suspect by the Jakarta Police in a high profile pornography investigation (which has since been shut down, though he still has several other cases pending against him).

Nasrulloh said he and other GNPF officials believe there are parties that masterminded Rizieq's travel ban in order to prevent him from returning to Indonesia and said the parliament, the police and the foreign ministry should investigate.

The reference to "parties" preventing Rizieq from coming home is no doubt an allusion to hardliner conspiracy theories about President Jokowi's administration's unfair criminalization of Rizieq aimed at preventing him from influencing the 2019 presidential election as he did the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial race. In fact, officials from Jokowi's political party, PDI-P, have even said they would welcome Rizieq's support should he choose to come back to Indonesia.

Former Trump fanboy Fadli Zon said that he would bring it up with House Commission II (of which he is a member) to investigate the matter further, noting that it was odd that Saudi Arabia would try to keep Rizieq inside the country when usually the problem was Indonesians being deported from the country.

We think it's odd that anybody would want to prevent Rizieq from leaving their country either. And his followers have made so many false or misleading statements about him in the past that it's hard to know if what they're saying here is true. However, it's also hard to imagine FPI affiliated hardliners speaking badly of the Saudi government otherwise, so who knows.

Whatever forces are working to keep Rizieq out of Indonesia, those of us hoping for an election season free of divisive political attacks against minorities can only hope those forces keep working.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/fugitive-fpi-leader-rizieq-shihab-reportedly-barred-going-malaysia-saudi-arabian-authorities/

Freedom of religion & worship

Congregations sob hysterically as churches sealed with approval of

Coconuts Jakarta - September 28, 2018

There were many tears in the East Sumatran city of Jambi yesterday as authorities sealed off three churches, each of which had been used as houses of worship for well over a decade, for the official reason that they lacked proper permits but which officials admitted was due to pressure.

Video and photos of the dramatic scenes were uploaded to Facebook yesterday in two posts by Choky Christianhalomoan Nainggolan, both of which have been shared thousands of times.

Some of the videos show members of the churches' congregations crying hysterically as their places of worship are sealed off by members of the city's Civil Service Police (Satpol PP). Some show congregants trying to sing or pray one last time before they are forced to vacate the buildings.

The three churches that were sealed by the government Thursday morning were Gereja Sidang Jemaat Allah, Gereja Huria Kristen Indonesia Simpang Rimbo and Gereja Methodist Indonesia Kanaan Jambi.

As can be seen in the Facebook posts, the churches were sealed with signs saying that they had been closed for violating various ordinances regarding public order and building permits.

One of the administrators of Gereja Methodist, Oberlin Tampubolon, told KBR that they had not received any prior warning that their house of worship would be closed but suspected it was due to pressure from various groups that had threatened to hold a demonstration today if the churches were not shuttered.

"Nobody tried to resist, but the women of my congregation shed tears. They said: this is not a place of sin, this is where we worship," Oberlin told KBR on Thursday night.

According to him, the Methodist church was built about 20 years ago and had been in use all of that time and had never had any problems with the local community until now.

Reports suggest that the problems began in July when a letter from various community leaders and citizens living around the churches in Jambi's Kenali Besar Village wrote a letter of protest to the government demanding that the churches in question be sealed immediately because they were disturbing the community and because they did not have proper building permits (IMB).

In that, the complainants were apparently correct. None of the three churches had proper IMBs from the government, despite having been in use for decades.

But that's not for a lack of trying. Sinaga, another member of the church, told Tribun that they had tried to apply for an official permit many times but the local government had always denied them.

"They refused but we do not know what the reason was. Even though this is a place of worship. We have never disturbed people from other religions here. We are here to help each other, to love and share with each other," Sinaga said.

Liphan Pasaribu, the head of the National and Political Unity Agency (Kesbangpol) of Jambi told the media that the sealing was done as the result of a joint decision made on Wednesday by various government agencies and the police, as well as groups local including local chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and local Religious Harmony Forum (FKUB).

If you're not familiar with FKUB, the ironically named body derives [its name] from a 2006 regulation that requires one to be in every local administration of Indonesia with the primary purpose of approving the construction of houses of worship.

However, because the membership of each FKUB is "proportional" to the religious makeup of the population in each area, they essentially give the religious majority veto power over the construction of houses of worship for religious minorities. Human rights activists argue that these "harmony" forums are one of the major reasons for Indonesia's growing religious intolerance.

And indeed that seems to be the case here, as Jambi FKUB chairman Husin Abdul Wahab justified their decision to close the churches on the grounds that it could create chaos in the community if they didn't bow down to the complainants demands.

"Later the consequences could be something undesirable. If [the churches] were not closed as soon as possible, the community would close them themselves. If the community closed them, it would cause a commotion. The news could spread to other countries," Husin told KBR.

According to Liphan, the Jambi city government promised to find a solution to this problem so that the congregations of the three churches could still worship. But if they remain unwilling to stand up for the rights of the minority against the majority, it's hard to see that happening.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/congregations-sob-hysterically-3-churches-sealed-indonesian-city-approval-religious-harmony-forum/

Sport & recreation

The football league that can't stop killing its supporters

Sydney Morning Herald - September 27, 2018

James Massola & Karuni Rompie, Jakarta – Seventy-six fans dead since 1994. Teams transported to derby matches in armoured personnel carriers.

A chairman who says the football league "could not have anticipated" violence outside the stadium between supporters. A President declaring the death of another fan, the 16th in eight months, "too many" and that the violence needs to stop.

And a premier league suspended, after the latest clash on Sunday between Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung also resulted in the death of 23-year-old Persija fan Haringga Sirilia.

Welcome to football, Indonesia-style, where going to a game could cost you your life.

The death of Haringga on Sunday, who was beaten to death before the game, was the latest in a long history of football violence in Indonesia. His death, still widely available for viewing on YouTube, was terrifying.

Lying on the ground, bloodied, Haringga's head is repeatedly kicked and stamped on and he is beaten with blocks of wood by dozens of people – presumably supporters of the home team – as hundreds more watch on, cheer, and film the incident on their phones.

His attempts to protect his head fail. Haringga collapses in a pool of blood. More attackers close in.

The video of Harringga's death went viral and has prompted the latest round of hand-wringing from Indonesian authorities and from the Indonesian Soccer Association (PSSI), who have suspended the Go-Jek Liga 1 for an undetermined period while an urgent five-day investigation is undertaken. By Monday, 16 people had been arrested and eight named as suspects.

But there is no sense that anyone in authority has any idea how to solve the problem – as evidenced by Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's tweet calling for his Sport's ministry, the PSSI and supporters to work together.

Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung are traditional rivals and each have millions of supporters.

Harringga's death is far from the first, which makes PSSI chairman Edy Rahmayadi's reported comment that security had been beefed up before the derby game and that no one could have predicted the violence all the more baffling.

Football has a decades-long history of fan violence all around the world – from Europe to South America to Indonesia – and Akmal Marhali, the coordinator of local NGO Save our Soccer, has strongly criticised the league chairman.

"I think he does not understand soccer. Nineteen people have died since he became PSSI chairman [Edy was elected PSSI chairman in November 2016]. Thirteen out of 19 died within the match area," Akmal told Fairfax Media.

He blamed a lack of serious law enforcement, corruption, poor safety regulations, even poorer sanctions for clubs whose fans commit violence – Akmal wants sanctions that go beyond financial penalties – for the ongoing violence.

Akmal said all stakeholders – the league, clubs, police and the government – need to sit down and work out the game's future, while fans need to be educated that "football is a sport, it's a game we want to enjoy".

He deplores the fact that Persija and Persib players are being transported to games in Barracuda armoured personnel carriers, and have been for close to a decade.

Deputy PSSI chairman Joko Driyono told Fairfax Media he hoped the league would not be suspended for more than two weeks and that the league's suspension was not a form of sanction, but rather to show "deep condolences" for the death of Haringga.

Joko said sanctions were likely against Persib, following the latest death, as the club was the host team and "they should have provided better security, they should have anticipated" what would happen – but "we don't want to single out Persib".

And Edy's suggestion that the murder outside the stadium could not have been anticipated? "I don't want to comment on that, I did not hear it myself so I have to check whether he actually said that."

Source: https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/the-football-league-that-can-t-stop-killing-its-supporters-20180926-p5064i.html

Literature & the arts

Children of radical street poet Wiji Thukul release music video and book

Metro TV - September 26, 2018

Purba Wirastama, Jakarta – Two decades have passed but the whereabouts of poet-activists Wiji Thukul is still unknown after he disappeared mysteriously in 1998.

His two children, Fitri Nganthi Wani and Fajar Merah have tried to present anew the memory of the figure Wiji Thukul through their latest works.

Fajar has released a music video of the song "Flowers and Walls" (Bunga dan Tembok). The video, which was made by film director Eden Junjung in cooperation with KawanKawan Media and Partisipasi Film, presents various symbolic illustrations of flowers, forest fires, land grabs, the New Order regime of former president Suharto and the military, the 1998 student occupation of the House of Representatives (DPR) and people without faces.

Flowers and Walls is a song whose lyrics were taken from a poem by Wiji of the same name. The song was released as part of a mini-album by the Red Tales (Merah Bercerita), a music group originating from the Central Java city of Surakarta formed by Fajar. Flowers and Walls was also the closing song for the 2016 film about Wiji titled "Let the Words Rest" (Istirahatlah Kata-kata) directed by Yosep Anggi Noen.

Wani meanwhile has released a collection of poems titled "You Succeeded in Become a Bullet" (Kau Berhasil Jadi Peluru). According to information received by Metro TV, the book contains 52 poems written by Fitri between 2010 and 2018.

The majority of poem tell the story of yearning, anger, questions and love for her father Wiji Thukul and mother Sipon.

Wani and Fajar also collaborated on a poetic song of the same title, "You Succeeded in Become a Bullet". The song was presented for the first time during the launch of the book and music video at the Jakarta South Room on September 25.

For Wani, the poems and music are a form of personal therapy for herself and younger sister Fajar. "The poems and music we made brought us to forgiveness without forgetting", said Wani.

According to KawanKawan Media producer Yulia Evina Bhara, the book of poems and music video are a follow up collaboration after the film "Let the Words Rest". She referred to the works as a result of reflection by Fajar and Wani of the struggles that their family wrestled with.

"The struggle to keep trying to find their father. And at the same time, their works are a reflection of their struggle and determination, struggling to live without a father and every day seeing the suffering of their mother after their father disappeared", said Yulia.

In addition to presenting Fajar and Wani, the launch was also enlivened by poetry readings by Mian Tiara, Melanie Subono, Dhyta Caturani, Rachel Amanda, Putri Ayudya, Eduwart Manalu and Jati "Westjam Nation".


Radical street performer and poet, People's Democratic Party (PRD) member Wiji Thukul disappeared in February 1998. It is suspected he was a victim of the military abductions along with other activists which disappeared in Solo (Central Java). The bodies of Thukul and three other PRD activists have never been found and they are presumed dead.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Anak-anak Wiji Thukul Rilis Video Musik dan Buku Puisi".]

Source: http://hiburan.metrotvnews.com/musik/zNP01MEN-anak-anak-wiji-thukul-rilis-video-musik-dan-buku-puisi

Tourism & hospitality

Bikinis could soon be banned in this popular tourist destination

The Express (UK) - September 26, 2018

Harriet Mallinson – Bali is cracking down on disrespectful behaviour with proposals to ban bikinis around its sacred sites.

The popular holiday destination has had enough of skimpily clad western tourists posing for photos and climbing over holy monuments. Locals believe that the quality of tourists has declined as more visitors come to the island.

Authorities are now considering new restrictions on access to certain sacred areas. This could mean tourists will have to be accompanied to visit Hindu temples, according to Bali's deputy governor Tjokorda Oka Artha Sukawati, known as Cok Ace.

He told Australian news site, news.com.au: "The quality of tourists is now different from before, it is because we are too open with tourists, so too many come." Last year, Bali welcomed around five million visitors.

There have been various incidents of tourists showing disrespect for Bali's religious monuments. Recently a viral photo emerged of a Danish tourist sitting on the holy Linggih Padmasana shrine at Puhur Luhur Batukaru temple.

The throne is supposed to be left vacant for the most important deity in Balinese Hinduism, known as the supreme god. To sit on it is highly offence and considered blasphemy – around which there are strict laws in Bali.

Police are now investigating the incident and trying to find the Danish tourists.

Also this year, a Spanish blogger uploaded a video of himself climbing up a temple – for which he was forced to apologise. In December 2017, tourists were criticised for posting racy pictures in front of volcano Mount Agung as it erupted. In 2016, a woman was photographed in a yoga pose wearing a bikini in front of a temple which sparked outrage.

"This is the government's attempt to maintain the Pura [temples]," said Cok Ace at a regional council meeting this week, discussing the tough proposals. "The temples need to be preserved since they are the spirits of Bali's cultures and customs."

Australian expat and Bali resident Rachel Bergma told news.com.au: "It is not new to Bali to see girls dressed inappropriately. It has been a problem with Europeans for a while now.

"What is new is the latest fashion that young people wear. The shorts that show actual bum cheek and the crop tops."

The stricter rules follow a 2016 clamp-down by Cambodian authorities to prevent tourists wear skimpy clothes. This included a ban of clothing which exploded knees and shoulders.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/1023036/bali-bikini-indonesia-bikinis-hindu-temple

Indonesia needs to invest Rp 500t in tourism: Minister

Jakarta Post - September 26, 2018

Jakarta – Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said on Wednesday that the country needed to invest Rp 500 trillion (US$33.49 million) to develop tourism in 2019.

"As a leading sector, all ministries and institutions are required to support the program. We are targeting tourism as the largest foreign exchange contributor," said Arief after attending the third national coordination meeting on tourism in Jakarta as quoted by kompas.com.

He said to boost tourist arrivals from 2019 to 2024, the country needed 120,000 more hotel rooms, 15,000 restaurants, 100 recreational parks, 100 diving operators, 100 marinas, 100 tourism special economic zones and 100,000 homestays.

He said meeting participants tried to map out the investment needs and financial resources. The government projects that it will obtain $20 billion from tourists in 2019.

Arief said balance of payment in the tourist sector posted a surplus in the last four years, meaning that the amount of money spent by foreign tourists was higher than the amount spent by Indonesian tourists abroad.

Previously, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo decided on 10 tourist destinations that would be developed by the government.

Arief said the funding would be used to develop the 10 tourist destinations and finance homestays and small and medium enterprises focusing on tourism. "For homestays, we need Rp 2 trillion, while for SMEs we need Rp 25 trillion," he said. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/26/indonesia-needs-to-invest-rp-500t-in-tourism-minister.html

Mining & energy

Freeport shifts focus to smelter construction after reaching divestment

Jakarta Post - September 28, 2018

Jakarta – After reaching a divestment deal on Thursday, gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) will now focus on a smelter construction plan, which is required for the company to obtain the special mining permit (IUPK) that is needed to operate the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua.

"The smelter is part of our agreement. So if the divestment is completed, we will turn to [smelter] construction," PTFI vice president of corporate communications Riza Pratama said in Jakarta on Thursday as reported by kompas.com.

He said PTFI had showed a commitment to constructing a smelter through engineering design and land preparation processes at the planned location of the smelter in Gresik, East Java.

After years of negotiations, Indonesia signed on Thursday an agreement with American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX), on the purchase of a majority stake in PTFI, which operates the gold and copper mine.

To conclude the deal, however, state mining holding PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum), which represents the government in the talks, needs to settle a payment of US$3.85 billion to FCX and Rio Tinto Group within six months.

The planned smelter in Gresik would manufacture 60 percent of the total copper concentrate mined from Grasberg, while another 40 percent would be manufactured at the existing smelter in Gresik.

When asked if PTFI would continue with the plan to construct a smelter in Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, Riza said it was still in the works.

The company is currently assessing the feasibility of constructing a smelter on the island. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/28/freeport-shifts-focus-to-smelter-construction-after-reaching-divestment-deal.html

Indonesia imports more fuel in 2018

Jakarta Post - September 27, 2018

Stefanno Reinard Sulaiman, Jakarta – State-owned energy holding company Pertamina's oil imports stood at an average of 393,000 barrel per day (bpd) up to August, 6 percent higher than in the entire year of 2017, when it imported 370,000 bpd on average.

The company's official presentation, circulated among the media on Wednesday, shows that Pertamina's gasoline imports stood at 316,000 bpd, or 83 percent of total fuel imports, while imports of gasoil and avtur (jet fuel) reached an average of 41,000 and 36,000 bpd, respectively.

The figures are still below Pertamina's total production of 720,000 bpd, according to the presentation, titled "Pertamina Finance Is Highly Influenced by the Dynamics of Global Crude and Fuel Products".

In line with the data, Pertamina's average fuel supply reached 1.157 million bpd up to August, or 50,000 bpd higher than the average in 2017, the highest of which was 1.1 million bpd.

Pertamina's average crude import decreased by 2.5 percent to 351,000 bpd up to August, from 360,000 bpd on average in 2017.

Meanwhile, crude supply from the domestic sector (excluding Pertamina's supply) reached 422,000 bpd, or 17.2 percent higher than last year's average.

But crude from Pertamina's field has dropped 18.7 percent to 134,000 bpd, placing the firm's total crude supply at 909,000 bpd as of August.

On Wednesday, the price of global benchmark Brent crude stood at US$81.61 per barrel, compared to $44.82 per barrel in June 2017. Meanwhile the Indonesian Crude Price (ICP) was set at $69.36 per barrel in August. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/27/indonesia-imports-more-fuel-in-2018.html

Infrastructure & development

Indonesia to offer six projects at IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings

Jakarta Post - September 28, 2018

Jakarta – The government is planning to offer six infrastructure projects at the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings, which will be attended by representatives from 189 countries, in Bali next month.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said in Jakarta on Thursday that the six projects comprised three for the light rapid transit (LRT), two for airports and one for a seaport.

The LRT projects, he said, would be developed in Bandung, Surabaya and Medan. "The value of each project ranges from Rp 5 trillion (US$335 million) to Rp 10 trillion," Budi said as reported by kontan.co.id.

Two airport expansion projects – one for Kualanamu International Airport in Medan and one for an airport in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara – required an investment of between Rp 3 trillion and Rp 6 trillion for each project, Budi added.

Another project, the Kuala Tanjung Seaport in North Sumatra, needed a total investment of between Rp 3 trillion and Rp 5 trillion, he said, adding that the government had no preference on which investors to bring in.

"We offer [the projects] to all participants. We will hold a presentation at the venue [for the event]," Budi said.

He said the six were strategic projects and that Indonesia needed to cooperate with foreign companies to operate them once they are completed.

The 2018 IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings will be attended by an estimated 15,000 delegates from 189 countries. Participants will include finance ministers, central bank governors, representatives of global and regional institutions, businesses, academics and journalists. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/28/indonesia-to-offer-six-projects-at-imf-world-bank-annual-meetings.html

Economy & investment

Economic stability first, growth next: Minister

Jakarta Post - September 28, 2018

Jakarta – The government and Bank Indonesia (BI) are prioritizing economic stability over economic growth because external pressures still haunt the country's economy, Economic Coordinating Minister Darmin Nasution said on Friday.

His remarks were related to BI's the decision to increase its seven-day reserve repo rate (7DRRR) by 25 basis points (bps) to 5.75 percent on Thursday, following the Federal Reserve's decision to increase its rate earlier that same day.

"If we don't increase the rate, we will be under pressure," the minister said, adding that because the country's economic stability was under threat, the central bank needed to focus on the issue.

He conceded that BI's decision would affect the country's economic growth because the hike would push up lending rates. "It means that we are in the high banking interest rate. We can do nothing," Darmin said as quoted by kompas.com.

Meanwhile, Institute for Development of Economics and Finance (Indef) economist Bhima Yudhistira said the government needed to anticipate a slowdown in the growth of the manufacturing industry, following BI's decision.

"Businesspeople will not too happy with the decision, particularly those in the manufacturing sector," Bhima said, adding that the growth in the manufacturing industry, the largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP), would be below 5 percent.

However, he acknowledged that BI was in a difficult situation, because if the central bank had not increased the seven-day reverse repo rate, it would have to spend more of its foreign exchange reserve to defend the rupiah from external pressures. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/28/economic-stability-first-growth-next-minister.html

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