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Indonesia News Digest 42 – November 8-14, 2018

West Papua Human rights & justice Sexual & domestic violence Labour & migrant workers Political parties & elections Fake news & black campaigns Sharia & discriminatory by-laws Internet & social media Environment & natural disasters Health & education Tertiary education & campus life Age & disability rights LGBT & same-sex marriage Religion & politics National holidays & celebrations Indigenous culture & rights Civil service & bureaucracy Intolerance & sectarianism Food & beverage industry Film & television Foreign affairs & trade Tourism & hospitality Economy & investment Taxation & state budget Analysis & opinion

West Papua

Detained tourist in West Papua on allegations of 'treason' awaits trial

Asia Pacific Report - November 12, 2018

Islami Adisubrata, Wamena – Indonesian Regional Police in West Papua have handed over the documents of the case of a Polish tourist, Jakup Fabian Skrzypski, who was arrested recently with three Papuans and accused of "treason", to the Jayawijaya District Attorney.

Skrzypski reportedly entered Indonesia on a tourist visa but was arrested on suspicion of working as a journalist illegally and having contact with an "insurgency" group, report news agencies.

The file was handed over to the District Attorney on November 2 and he is expected to face trial in Wamena along with three co-accused.

"So, the four suspects were handed over, two arrested in Wamena, including Skrzypski, and others arrested in Yalimo," said Lintong Simanjuntak, Adjunct Police Commissionaire who is also the Chief of Violence and Crime Division of the Directorate of Crime Investigation of Papua Regional Police.

Skrzypski and three other people departed from Jayapura to Wamena and were immediately transferred to Jayawijaya District Attorney Office for re-examination. The four now are detained by the Jayawijaya District Attorney.

Two of the defendants were sent to the House of Correction Class B Wamena, while the other two have been placed in police custody in Jayawijaya police headquarters.

Foreign Ministry help

Adjunct Commissionaire Simanjuntak, who accompanied the four defendants from Jayapura to Wamena, said that although Papua police would investigate this case of alleged treason, the trial would be conducted in Wamena – the place where the incident occurred.

Simanjuntak said that during the investigation, the police were assisted by the Foreign Ministry and had communicated with the Polish Ambassador in Jakarta, ensuring that all procedures had been completed appropriately.

The Chief of State's Defence and Public Security of the Papua District Attorney Adrianus Irham Tamana said that the trial would be conducted before 20 days of detention had lapsed.

"The trial before 20 days of detention will be handed over to the court. Currently, they are still under our custody," said Tamana.

But the public prosecutor's team objected putting the detainees in the police headquarters jail as it was already overcrowded and this could effect access to the basic rights of the detainees in that overcrowded prison, said the detainees legal adviser Latifah Anum Siregar.

"Does this transfer create a problem of over capacity? What about their access and rights? Can these be fulfilled or not?" she asked.

Cell overflowing

Siregar said that during the detention by Papua regional police, the holding cell had already been overflowing, with 50 people occupying space for 25. Also, the detainees needed to share the toilet for bathing and washing dishes.

"Security must be compared with humanitarian purpose. Don't apply security as the reason to ignore humanity. "My clients have to get access to lawyers, religious leaders and this shouldn't be restricted," Siregar said. She also said Skrzypski had rejected all allegations against him.

Islami Adisubrata is a journalist with Tabloid Jubi and this article has been translated into English and is republished with permission under a content sharing arrangement.

Source: https://asiapacificreport.nz/2018/11/12/detained-tourist-in-indonesia-on-allegations-of-treason-await-trial/

Papua rebels killed in ambush

Asean Economist - November 9, 2018

Taylor McDonald – Two independence insurgents and a civilian have reportedly been killed during a week of fighting in the impoverished Indonesian region of Papua.

The authorities are trying to capture Purom Wenda, a West Papua Liberation Army commander who they say is a petty criminal that formed a radical separatist group. The authorities said Wenda had a "low intellectual level".

Wenda claimed two of his men were killed in a shootout after his group shot dead a motorbike taxi driver they believed was spying for the government. The military said the migrant from Sulawesi was an innocent villager.

"Our struggle in the jungle has been going for decades," said Wenda in a smuggled statement. "Countless people have died for this struggle. Indonesia said that they have given us special autonomy, infrastructure and other excuses. We do not want all that. We only want freedom."

Papua's military spokesman Colonel Muhammad Aidi said Wenda prevented villagers from recovering the body of the man they shot last Saturday in an attempt to set a trap for the authorities.

He said troops recovered the corpse and exchanged fire with the insurgents for around 30 minutes, killing two and seizing a significant stash of ammunition.

Aidi denied that Indonesia was amassing troops in Papua's highlands, saying it was just a routine rotation of personnel.

Humanitarian concerns are growing for Papuans caught in the crossfire. There have been a series of gun battles in the highland regencies of Puncak Jaya, Nduga, Timika and Lanny Jaya.

A Red Cross representative in Papua Nelson Wonda said many traumatised highland villagers had been displaced by fighting and were living in the forests without sufficient food.

The NGO said seven Papuans were killed in Puncak Jaya in October by the military although the authorities put the number at five. Wonda said troops killed villagers' pigs and burned down their houses while the Red Cross had erected 60 tents for homeless Papuans.

The military claims the insurgents burned down hospitals and schools in the Banti Kompleks and 15 teachers and medics were held hostages in Nduga for two weeks in October amid allegations of rape.

Akouboo Amatus Douw, an Australia-based spokesman for the liberation army, denied allegations of hostage-taking and rape.

Source: https://aseaneconomist.com/papua-rebels-killed-in-ambush/

Fears for civilians as West Papuan conflict rages

Radio New Zealand International - November 9, 2018

Johnny Blades – Humanitarian concerns are growing for West Papuans caught in the middle of conflict between Indonesia's military forces and pro-independence fighters in Papua province.

After the Liberation Army declared war on the Indonesian state in January, hostilities between the pro-independence guerrilla force and Indonesian military and police have escalated in recent months.

There has been a series of deadly gunfire exchanges in the Highlands regencies of Puncak Jaya, Nduga, Timika and Lanny Jaya.

The Red Cross in Indonesia's Papua province said many traumatised Highlands villagers caught up in the fighting had been displaced by the ongoing armed conflict.

A Red Cross representative in the Highlands, Nelson Wonda, said thousands of Papuans have fled from their villages to the bush after fighting last month.

He said many of these people don't have enough food, but they feared returning to their homes and food gardens due to the risk of getting caught up in the fighting.

According to the Red Cross, seven Papuans were killed in Puncak Jaya last month by the Indonesian military. Indonesia's military disputed the figure, saying five died in that particular exchange.

However, Mr Wonda said that the Indonesian military killed villagers' pigs and burnt many of their houses. He said the Red Cross had erected 60 tents for people unable to return home.

He added that the Red Cross was deeply concerned for the wellbeing of the displaced communities, and called on the military and police forces to withdraw from this area to allow the Papuans to return home.

Lanny Jaya violence

The West Papua Liberation Army killed a taxi driver in the Highlands because it's understood they believed he was an Indonesian intelligence agent.

The killing last week in Lanny Jaya regency sparked the latest round of fighting between the Army and Indonesian security forces in Papua's rugged interior.

A spokesman for Indonesia's military in Papua, Colonel Inf Muhammad Aidi, said the death of the driver prompted the military's response which resulted in the deaths of two Liberation Army members, and injuries to others.

The commander of the Liberation Army in Lanny Jaya regency, Purom Wenda, said his forces killed the motorbike taxi driver after receiving information that he was an intelligence officer spying on them.

Mr Wenda said his forces remained in a shooting stand-off with Indonesian police and military which started a week ago.

Colonel Aidi accused the Liberation Army of luring the Indonesian security forces into a trap. "This separatist group which has bases in remote jungle around Papua's centre mountain area, has long record doing crimes in Papua," he added.

"In last few months they've killed three civilians, injured a young boy with chopping knife, killed a taxibike in Ilaga, shot a civilian flight in and killed two army soldiers in Mulia."

The Indonesian military has also accused the Liberation Army of burning Hospitals and school buildings in the Banti Kompleks area. Nduga unrest

Late last month, Indonesian media reported that a group of 15 school teachers and medical workers were held hostages by the Liberation Army in Nduga for two weeks.

One female teacher was also reportedly raped and hospitalised after her release. But Akouboo Amatus Douw, an Australia-based Liberation Army spokesperson, said reports of hostage taking and rape were false.

He said the Liberation Army held a meeting in Mapenduma earlier this month where teachers and medical workers suspected of working for the Indonesian military were "kept quiet".

However the Army has admitted responsibility for deaths of three people after gunmen targeted an aircraft transporting Indonesian paramilitary police at the airport of Nduga regency.

At least one of the people killed, another Liberation Army spokesman said, had assisted Indonesia's security forces in operations against Papuans.

Meanwhile, Colonel Aidi denied that Indonesia was deploying a build-up of troops in Papua's Highlands in the last week. Responding to reports of dozens of heavily armed troops arriving in Wamena and other Highlands centres, he indicated it was simply part of a routine rotation of troops.

But with the conflict showing little sign of settling down, Mr Wenda echoed concerns about the welfare of Papuan villagers who had taken refuge in the jungle to escape the fighting.

"Countless people have died for this struggle," he said. "Indonesia said that they have given us special autonomy, infrastructure, and other excuses. We do not want all that. We only want freedom."

Source: https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/375570/fears-for-civilians-as-west-papuan-conflict-rages

Human rights & justice

Munir's photograph displayed at world human rights event in Paris

Tempo - November 9, 2018

Syafiul Hadi, Jakarta – The human rights defenders from around the world gathered in Paris, France, to hold 2018 The Human Rights Defenders World Summit, on October 29-31.

In the series of events, there was a joint photo session at the Place du Trocadero in front of the Palais de Chaillot, the place where the International Human Rights Declaration was signed 70 years ago.

The photo session was attended by all participants holding photographs of world human rights activists. One of them is a picture of Munir Said Thalib.

"Munir Said Thalib represents a prominent human rights defender from Indonesia," KontraS Deputy Coordinator of Advocation Putri Kanesia told Tempo on Thursday, November 8.

According to Putri, the display of Munir's photo and 19 other world human rights activists was deliberately carried out to represent human rights defenders who could not attend the event.

"The pictures represent the human rights defenders who died in their human rights struggle, and who cannot attend because they were arrested, kidnapped, or banned to travel," he said.

Munir Said Thalib was an Indonesian human rights figure who died on a flight to Amsterdam on September 7, 2004. Based on the autopsy results done by the Dutch and Indonesian police, Munir died of arsenic poisoning.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/09/055923288/Munirs-Photograph-Displayed-at-World-Human-Rights-Event-in-Paris

Sexual & domestic violence

ICJR questions Supreme Court for jailing sexual harassment victim

Tempo - November 14, 2018

Andita Rahma, Jakarta – The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) questions the verdict handed by Supreme Court (MA) to Baiq Nuril Maknun, who was found guilty of distributing and transmitting indecent contents stated in Article 27 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law.

"ICJR had monitored the case since the beginning and had sent an amicus curiae to the Mataram District Court. We truly regret that they handed this verdict and questions MA's carelessness upon placing a verdict. ICJR has analyzed that Baiq Nuril cannot be handed criminal punishment" as stated by the ICJRin an official written statement.

Baiq Nuril Maknun was a former honorary teacher at the Mataram State Highschool, according to ICJR. The case took place in 2017 after Baiq Nuril often received calls from the school's principle with the initials of "M".

M most of the time called Baiq to tell her about his sexual experiences with women outside of his own wife. This drove Baiq to record every conversation between her and the principle in order to avoid any possible allegations and misunderstanding in the future.

However, out of her will, the recording spread publically, which then drove M to file a police report for possible violations of the ITE Law, which is often seen as a "rubber law" since it is able to be widely interpreted.

The Mataram District Court's verdict No. 265/Pid.Sus/2017/PN, the court was unable to find Baiq Nuril guilty and is clearly a victim of sexual harassment from her boss and that her act of recording her conversation was not seen as a criminal offense.

However, after the public prosecutor submitted a cassation, Baiq Nuril was handed the guilty verdict for her criminal offense listed under Cassation Verdict No. 574K/Pid.Sus/2018 on November 9, 2018.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/14/055923420/ICJR-Questions-Supreme-Court-for-Jailing-Sexual-Harassment-Victim

Jailed for reporting her sexual offender, Mataram woman cries for help

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – A teacher from Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, who has been jailed for spreading a recording revealing alleged sexual harassment by her former superior, has pleaded to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to release her.

The Supreme Court found Baiq Nuril Maknun, a high school teacher, guilty of defaming Muslim, the former principal at the school, by spreading a recording of a reportedly sordid phone call between the two of them, overturning a lower court's not guilty verdict.

In a controversial verdict that has incriminated a victim of sexual harassment, the court ruled on Friday that the 37-year-old must serve a six-month sentence and pay a Rp 500 million (US$33,749) fine after being found guilty of violating Article 27 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law.

Wearing a black headscarf, Nuril sat and sobbed in front of her rented home in Mataram on Monday afternoon while a camera recorded her message to the President.

"Mr. President, I only ask for justice. Because I am the victim here. Is it my fault if I," Nuril stopped her stammering words to take a breath and wipe her tears. And then, closing her eyes tightly to prevent the tears from falling she continued, "Is it wrong for me to try and defend myself in my own way?"

Her 7-year-old son was standing near her and looked puzzled as he did not really understand what was going on.

The video was published on YouTube on Tuesday by @contactsafenet, an account managed by the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet).

The ITE Law has been controversial for years, as it has jailed people for expressing their opinions, thoughts and complaints on the internet and social media, accusing violators of defamation.

SAFEnet recorded that the law had imprisoned at least 381 people since it was first deliberated in 2008, 90 percent of those imprisoned had been charged with defamation while the rest with hate speech.

In Nuril's case, the recording, which had been spread in the school circle and local education agency, had caused Muslim to be removed from his job, and prompted him to report her to police. But Muslim was later promoted to a position at the local education agency.

Furkan Rudy Ermansah, a SAFEnet volunteer who recorded the video and had also been accompanying Nuril since the case emerged at the end of 2014, said he believed Nuril was a victim of sexual harassment and the tyranny of her principal, who fired her for something that was not her fault.

"We want President Jokowi and anyone with power in this country to help Nuril. She is innocent, she is the victim and yet she is the one who is being punished. Where can her family get Rp 500 million when it is already difficult for her, her husband and three children to pay for their daily needs," Rudy told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

Rudy said when the case came to light, Nuril not only lost her job but her husband had to resign from his to care for their three children. After the recent Lombok earthquake, which also damaged part of their home, Nuril's husband took a part time job as an ojek (motorcycle taxi) driver.

Separately, a crowdfunding campaign initiated by the Victims of UU ITE Community (PALU ITE) began on Tuesday to raise money to help Nuril pay the fines.

Muhammad Arsyad, the head of PALU ITE, said help began flooding in from across and outside the country only a day after the campaign commenced. The link had been shared 1,654 times on Facebook, with more than Rp 24 million collected as of Wednesday morning.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/14/jailed-for-reporting-her-sexual-offender-mataram-woman-cries-for-help.html

UGM considers expelling alleged sexual abuser amid public pressure

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Bambang Muryanto and Sri Wahyuni, Yogyakarta – In response to public pressure, Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta is thinking about taking steps to expel a student who is accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student last year.

Rector Panut Mulyono said Monday he was thinking about setting up an ethics committee to reinvestigate the case. "If people think the punishment is not adequate, we have an ethics team that will reopen the case," he said.

Panut earlier said UGM considered the case closed and the alleged assaulter's punishment meted out. However, public pressure, some taking the form of an online movement called #KitaAgni (We Are Agni), deemed the measures insufficient to deliver justice to the victim, who has the pseudonym Agni in an investigative report by Balairung Press, a student press of the university.

Panut said in Yogyakarta that he sympathized with the victim but he wanted both Agni and the alleged perpetrator, HS, to graduate and become better people. "Both are our children. We want to handle this case in an educational way so both learn some lessons but no one is destroyed," Panut said to reporters last week.

The case surfaced after Balairung interviewed Agni, who told them how she was blamed by campus officials after the case. She said she was assaulted on June 30 last year during a community service project (KKN) at a Maluku village. A KKN is a compulsory school program that lasts several months, during which students live with local families in the target village.

The Indonesian Ombudsman (ORI) responded to the case by saying they suspected UGM of "maladministration" in handling Agni's report.

"The suspected maladministration is delaying the resolution of the case," said ORI member, Ninik Rahayu on Saturday. Such delay was in violation of the 2009 law on public service, she said.

UGM's handling of the matter, called "victim blaming" by many, triggered an online petition on change.org demanding that UGM deliver justice for Agni, a student at the School of Social and Political Sciences (Fisipol). As of Tuesday evening, a week after the petition was made, more than 170,000 people had signed it.

Pipin Jamson, a lecturer at Fisipol, spoke on behalf of Agni, saying that Agni wanted HS to be expelled from the university without honor. An offline petition in UGM has garnered 1,600 signatures, demanding that UGM expel HS.

HS, a student at the School of Engineering, has reportedly finished his thesis and is about to graduate.

Panut said the university had actually punished HS based on a recommendation from an ad hoc investigation team looking into the case, which comprised campus officials from several internal institutions. The punishments included postponing HS' graduation by one semester, pulling HS from the KKN site in Maluku and making him undergo mandatory counseling for sex abusers.

Deputy rector Paripurna Sugarda said UGM was focusing on protecting and giving Agni psychological counseling. "We're looking at the possibility of bringing this case to [the police]," he said.

Deputy head of the Witnesses and Victims Protection Agency (LPSK), Hasto Atmojo, visited UGM and talked to Panut and Fisipol dean Erwan Agus Purwanto. Hasto said he saw sexual assaults as a serious problem. Hasto said sexual assault happened as a result of unequal power relations in a patriarchal society, and that women were mostly the victims.

"To anyone who is a rape victim, have courage to speak up because the state would give protection through the LPSK," he said.

Erwan of Fisipol spoke on behalf of Agni, saying that Agni was still considering about pursuing legal action. "The process has to take into account the victim's psychological condition," he said.

Erwan said Agni's psychological condition was still "unstable". She had received psychological support from a women's crisis center in Yogyakarta, Rifka Annisa. Agni was still finishing her thesis, he said.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/13/ugm-considers-expelling-alleged-sexual-abuser-amid-public-pressure.html

Alumnus burns own diploma in protest over alleged victim blaming in UGM

Coconuts Jakarta - November 14, 2018

The alleged rape of a student at Yogyakarta's prestigious Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and the alleged lack of a speedy and appropriate action by the university has caused nationwide outrage, but perhaps none as extreme as one UGM alumnus.

The former UGM student, identified as Arfiantriono, filmed himself setting his own hard-earned diploma – with the graduation date of November 2000 visible – on fire in a show of protest against the university and their handling of the rape case. He says in the video, "I am an UGM alumnus, and I am ashamed."

After the video went viral, UGM spokesperson Iva Ariani confirmed to Merdeka that Arfiantriono is indeed a graduate of the university and said that she regrets that he did not have faith in his alma mater.

"It's sad. Like I said, the UGM alumnus wouldn't have done what he did if he knew the processes we're taking [to handle the rape case]. This is just a misunderstanding. UGM is not covering up anything. We are not silent. The process continues," she said.

The rape allegation was brought to the nation's attention earlier this month thanks to an expose by the university's student publication. The alleged rape incident itself, in which a male student was said to have forced himself on a female student, occurred in June 2017.

The victim claims that she didn't report the incident to the police because she hoped that UGM officials would give punish the culprit appropriatly. However, she claims that instead of doing so, the culprit was allowed to remain a student at UGM (though the university says it's considering expelling him amid public pressure) and was told by some officials that said she deserved some of the blame for the rape, all while they tried to prevent the allegation from being leaked to the public.

After the story went viral nationwide, the National Police said no official complaint from the victim was needed to start an investigation into the case and that the local police have already begun looking into it.

A petition was launched on Change.org urging UGM to set up better policies and take sterner action to prevent sexual assault incidents like this from happening, such as harsher sanctions on culprits. Around 170,000 have signed the petition at the time of writing, and you can do the same here.

People in authority turning a blind eye on allegations of sexual misconduct is unfortunately not rare in Indonesia. Earlier this year, a woman in one of the most publicized sexual assault cases in the country told us the police didn't investigate her case until after she made it go viral on social media.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/alumnus-burns-diploma-protest-alleged-victim-blaming-universitas-gadjah-mada-student-rape-case/

Teacher tapes principal sexually harassing her, *she* gets jailed for UU

Coconuts Jakarta - November 13, 2018

Baiq Nuril, a teacher from Mataram on the island of Lombok, says she had been verbally sexually harassed with indecent conversation from her school's principal several times before she decided to record him doing so during a phone conversation back in 2012.

When the recording was made public, the principal lost his post. But in retaliation, he filed a criminal report over the recording that Nuril may now have to spend six months in jail just for making it.

Although Nuril was found not guilty at the district court level in July, prosecutors appealed directly to the Supreme Court, which overturned the lower court verdict and sentenced the teacher to six months in jail as well as a fine of IDR500 million (US$33,500).

So how exactly did a victim of sexual harassment end up being sentenced to jail by the country's highest court for collecting proof of her harasser's crime? What crime did she supposedly commit?

Those of you who know anything about the Indonesian legal system probably already know: Nuril was found guilty of violating Indonesia's draconian Law on Electronic Information and Transaction (UU ITE), which makes any kind of electronic message that could possibly be considered immoral, insulting or blasphemous by one party a potential crime.

It has been criticized innumerable times as a tool to promote censorship, limit free speech and protect those in power by criminalizing those who speak out against them.

"The defendant Baiq Nuril Maknun has been proven legally and convincingly guilty of committing a criminal offense by distributing and or transmitting or making accessible electronic information and/or electronic documents that have contents that violate morality," read the Supreme Court's verdict as posted to the Mataram District Court website on Sunday.

Yes, because Nuril made a recording of her principal's immoral sexual harassment, the Supreme Court decided to find her guilty of violating UU ITE.

Even if you accept UU ITE as it is written, it is difficult to justify the Supreme Court's decision. That's the position of Indonesia's Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), which has criticized the court's legal reasoning in the case on a number of points, the clearest being that, in the original trial, Nuril was proven to not have been the person who actually disseminated the recording online. That was done by one of her colleagues (who was not reported to the police and has not been charged with any crimes).

"Baiq Nuril, based on the facts of the trial, never spread the immoral content that caused the violation, it was another party who actually spread the recording of the conversation between [the principal] and Baiq Nuril," ICJR executive director Anggara said as quoted by Tirto on Sunday.

However, as the Supreme Court's decisions cannot be appealed, Nuril's only hope for justice now is to file a judicial review, but those require new evidence to be submitted so it is not yet clear if her lawyers will be able to submit one.

Meanwhile, netizens are making their outrage over the decision known via a Change.org petition demanding that Nuril be set free that has already been signed by over 32,000 people.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/teacher-tapes-principal-sexually-harassing-gets-sentenced-6-months-supreme-court-uu-ite-violation/

Antisexual assault movement '#kitaAGNI' gains traction

Jakarta Post - November 9, 2018

Bambang Muryanto, Yogyakarta – Thursday when hundreds of people, including students and lecturers of Gadjah Mada University (UGM), rallied in a show of support for Agni, the pseudonym of a female student of the Yogyakarta university who was allegedly sexually assaulted by another student over a year ago.

Agni, a Social and Political Sciences Faculty (Fisipol) student, shared her personal account of the alleged assault with UGM student magazine Balairung recently, saying that a male student of the school's engineering faculty sexually assaulted her during a community service project (KKN) at a Maluku village on June 30, 2017. KKNs are compulsory school programs that last several months, during which students live with local families in the target village.

The Balairung report came under the spotlight earlier this week, triggering uproar in the UGM community and beyond, with many saying that campus authorities had yet to take appropriate action. The alleged offender, identified only as HS, has reportedly completed his studies at the university and is set to graduate, while Agni is struggling to advocate for herself.

During the #kitaAGNI rally on Fisipol campus, students, lecturers and activists demanded that the UGM rescind HS' academic credentials, reiterating that any form of sexual abuse was a serious violation.

"We want UGM to handle all sexual violence cases thoroughly and dismiss the perpetrators," rally spokesperson Nadine Kusuma told The Jakarta Post on Thursday, suggesting that the latest case was not the university's first and that the UGM had not been siding with victims. The rally also highlighted that the UGM was facing "a sexual violence emergency".

In mere hours, hundreds of UGM students signed their names and contact details on a white banner in a show of solidarity. They also wore purple ribbons to protest over violence against women and played kentongan (bamboo slit drums), which are traditionally played to warn of incoming danger in villages.

"This will not stop today. We will continue the rally [to involve] other faculties until all sexual violence cases are settled and the UGM is free from sexual violence," Nadine said, adding that the white banner would later be handed over to the UGM rector.

The group also demanded that the UGM issue a warning against staff members who issued statements that blamed victims and provide survivors with relevant information, psychosocial and health services and some form of compensation.

The dean of Fisipol UGM, Erwan A. Purwanto, who participated in the rally and lamented the university's slow progress in handling the case, wrote, "Manage this case thoroughly!" on the banner.

"The university is slow in implementing recommendations that were handed over by the investigation team in July 2018," he said, referring to a team established by the university in response to a sexual abuse report filed by Fisipol UGM. The recommendations included counselling sessions for Agni and HS.

Separately, Suharti, the director of Rifka Annisa Women's Crisis Center, an NGO that has advocated for Agni since September 2017, criticized UGM management for failing to bring her justice.

"Sexual violence in universities is becoming harder to handle because, most of the time, the universities prioritize their reputation over thorough settlement of a case. Also, it is because there is a lack of commitment to protect the victims," Suharti said.

She said Agni had suffered from depression and that Rifka Annisa was currently focusing on trauma counselling.

Yogyakarta Legal Aid Institute director Yogi Zul Fadhli demanded that HS be legally punished. "The perpetrator has to be reported to the police," Yogi said.

In response to the uproar, UGM spokesperson Iva Ariani said the university had expressed its sympathy to Agni and pledged to bring justice for her. "The UGM will also take the necessary steps to bring this case to the legal domain," she said.

Meanwhile, social media users have been doxxing HS since the report made headlines across the country. The alleged identity and pictures of HS began to circulate online mere hours after the report was published.

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.]

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/antisexual-assault-movement-kitaagni-gains-traction.html

#WeareAGNI Movement demands justice and transparency in UGM rape case

Detik News - November 8, 2018

Usman Hadi, Sleman – Students from the #WeareAGNI (Gerakan #kitaAGNI) Movement held an action at the Gajah Mada University (UGM) in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta Tuesday titled "UGM Sexual Violence Emergency".

Held on the on the grounds of the Faculty of Social and Political Science (Fisipol) on November 8, the students made nine demands which were written on a billboard and signed by the protesters.

The protesters took turns in signing their name, student ID number and signature on the billboard.

The signatures were evidence that they supported Agni – a pseudonym used by the Publishing Body and the Balairung Student Press – in her fight for justice.

During the action the #kitaAGNI Movement made nine demands on the UGM administration:

1. Issue a public statement that sexual harassment and sexual violence in any and all forms, particularly rape, is a gross rights violation.

2. Expel members of the UGM academic community who commit sexual harassment and sexual violence.

3. Issue a strong reprimand and sanctions against members of the UGM academic community who denigrate survivors of sexual harassment and sexual violence.

4. Fulfill the rights of survivors of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including the right to obtain timely information and transparency about the handling of their cases, along with assistance from psychologists, healthcare services, legal assistance and material compensation.

5. Provide safe space for survivors of sexual harassment and sexual violence to report the violence they suffer.

6. Hold in the highest degree and ensure the fulfillment of the perspectives and privacy of survivors as well as the principles of transparency and accountability and immediately form a body to report on cases of sexual harassment and sexual violence at UGM.

7. Review and revise management and regulations at the departmental, faculty as well as university level which still permit sexual harassment and sexual violence to take place.

8. Draft and enact binding regulations at the departmental, faculty as well as university level on the prevention, handling of and prosecution of cases of sexual harassment and sexual violence which involve the UGM academic community.

9. Organise education on sexual harassment and sexual violence which sides with the survivors during Learners Success Training for New Students (PPSMB) and Student Community Placement Programs – Community Empowerment Learning (KKN-PPM) at the departmental, faculty and university level.

Natasya from #kitaAGNI explained that the #kitaAGNI movement emerged because they were angered that the case of alleged rape against UGM student Agni during a student community placement program (KKN) was not resolved by campus authorities. The victim failed to obtain justice while the perpetrator is about to be allowed graduate.

"#kitaAGNI was born because the perpetrator of sexual violence in the Agni case was about to graduate, would soon attend the graduation, and their name was included in the list of November 2018 graduates", said Natasya during the action.

Natasya said that the #kitaAGNI Movement would continue to voice their concerns over the case so that campus authorities resolve the case justly and transparently.

"[For as long as] Agni fails to get transparency, Agni fails to get clarity, and there is no just punishment for the perpetrator of her sexual violence", said the Fisipol student. (sip/sip)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Ini 9 Tuntutan Mahasiswa dalam Aksi 'UGM Darurat Kekerasan Seksual'".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita-jawa-tengah/d-4292800/ini-9-tuntutan-mahasiswa-dalam-aksi-ugm-darurat-kekerasan-seksual

Labour & migrant workers

21 companies to relocate factories from Karawang over high wages

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Jakarta – Twenty-one companies will relocate their factories from Karawang, West Java to other regions on account of next year's minimum wage increase, an official has said.

"According to our records, between 2017 and 2018, 21 companies relocated their factories because they could not afford to pay wages," said Karawang Manpower and Transmigration Agency head Ahmad Suroto said on Tuesday as quoted by kompas.com.

The current minimum wage in Karawang is Rp 3.92 million (US$266.13). The official said the Karawang Payment Council had decided to increase the minimum wage by 8.03 percent, as recommended by the Manpower Ministry, to Rp 4.23 million in 2019.

Because of the relocation of 21 factories, 22,000 workers would lose their jobs, he said, adding that he had been informed that five garment companies also planned to relocate their factories in 2019. The five garment companies currently employ about 9,000 workers, he added.

Suroto said he had tried to persuade the garment companies to stay, but they had argued that they could not afford to pay their workers.

He expected the wage increases next year to affect more companies, particularly companies that manufactured textiles, clothing and leather products, most of which were small and medium enterprises. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/14/21-companies-to-relocate-factories-from-karawang-over-high-wages.html

'She will be a resident of heaven': Saudi Ambassador says migrant

Coconuts Jakarta - November 9, 2018

Nadia Hamid – The Oct. 29 execution of Indonesian migrant worker Tuty Tursilawati by Saudi Arabian authorities, which was carried out without any prior notice to the Indonesian government and her family, added another red mark to the Middle Eastern kingdom's long list of human rights violations as well as causing outrage in Indonesia.

As reported by Kumparan, Saudi's ambassador to Indonesia, Osama bin Mohammed Abdullah Al Shuaibi, spoke publicly for the first time about Tuty's execution today and used religious reasoning to justify her killing.

"She has been purified, alhamdulillah (praise God). She served her punishment on earth. [After receiving her death sentence] she had a lot of time to turn to Allah. Inshallah (God willing) she will be a resident of heaven," Osama said at the Saudi embassy in Jakarta.

Tuty was one of 16 Indonesian nationals on death row in Saudi Arabia. She was arrested in 2010 and then sentenced to death in 2011 for the murder of her employer, but she claimed she was acting in self-defense to protect herself from sexual abuse.

But Osama denied the claim, saying Tuty wasn't raped, because apparently, old men can't rape.

"I want to set the record straight about the murder. She didn't do it to protect herself. The victim was 80 years old, logically it wouldn't be possible for him to rape," Osama said.

Osama added that the execution, carried out on Oct. 29, was done in accordance to Islamic-based Saudi law, therefore it was the best possible outcome for Tuty in spiritual terms.

"We have lost two people, the 80-year-old victim and the woman (Tuty). She already served her punishment on earth. Inshallah, she will get to heaven."

Previously, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry's Migrant Workers' Protection Director Lalu Muhammad Iqbal stated that Tuti was sentenced with had ghilah (planned assassination) so the death sentence couldn't be retracted even if the victim's family had pardoned her.

Despite Indonesia's pleas, Lalu said that Saudi Arabia and Indonesia do not have a mandatory consular notification agreement obligating either country to warn the other about legal trouble their citizens are facing abroad.

In March of this year, another Indonesian migrant worker, Zaini Misrin, was also executed in Saudi Arabia without prior notice to Indonesian officials.

Zaini's execution temporarily strengthened Indonesia's conviction to resume its moratorium on migrant workers being sent to the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia.

However, on Oct. 11, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia entered into an agreement on a pilot project to send a limited number of Indonesian migrant workers to the kingdom under the promise of better protection, thereby bypassing the moratorium, which was introduced in 2015.

Migrant workers advocacy group Migrant Care has urged the Indonesian government to scrap the agreement to send Indonesian migrant workers to the kingdom in limited numbers, following Tuty's execution.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/will-resident-heaven-saudi-ambassador-says-migrant-worker-tuty-tursilawatis-sins-absolved-execution/

Bappenas says 9.4m jobs created under Jokowi

Jakarta Post - November 9, 2018

Jakarta – The National Development Planning minister said on Thursday that about 9.4 million jobs had been created under the leadership of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, of which 2.99 million were created this year.

Bambang Brodjonegoro, who is also head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), expressed his optimism that the President would achieve the 10 million jobs he had promised during his five-year term, adding that 2 million jobs were expected to be created next year with a gross domestic product (GDP) growth projection of 5.3 percent.

"This means that the Nawa Cita's (nine development goals) job creation target will be achieved, as we only need 600,000 more jobs," he said at a discussion.

Statistics Indonesia (BPS) recently announced that it had recorded an unemployment rate of 5.34 percent and about 7 million job seekers in August, a decline of about 40,000 job seekers from August 2017.

It also recorded a national workforce of 131.01 million, an increase of 2.95 million compared to August 2017. The employed population was 124.01 million, or a year-on-year increase of 2.22 million people.

Meanwhile, the informal sector contributed 56.84 percent of total available jobs, or a year-on-year decline of 0.19 percent.

The hospitality industry's food and beverage sector recorded the greatest increase in its contribution to the job market at 0.47 percentage points (pp), followed by the manufacturing (0.21 pp) and transportation (0.17 pp) sectors.

In contrast, the agriculture sector's contribution declined by 0.89 pp, followed by the service sector (0.11 pp) and the education sector (0.05 pp). (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/bappenas-says-9-4m-jobs-created-under-jokowi.html

Growth in women's wages rising, but women workers still paid less than

Detik Finance - November 8, 2018

Danang Sugianto, Jakarta – Not long ago the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) released data on working conditions in Indonesia, which is particularly interesting in terms of comparing the working conditions of female and male workers.

National Planning and Development Minister and National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) head Bambang Brodjonegoro says that if seen from average wage levels, there has been a positive improvement for women workers compared with their male counterparts.

"The data shows that women's wages have grown faster than men", he said during a Forum Merdeka Barat (FMB) 9 discussion at the Bappenas building in Central Jakarta on Thursday November 8.

According to BPS data, women workers' wages have grown by 4.3 percent while men's wages have grown by only 2.3 percent.

Unfortunately, dispute the higher growth in women workers' wages, if seen from the total average wage, women's wages are still below that of men. The average wage of a male worker in 2018 stood at 3.6 million rupiah a month while women earned an average of 2.4 million rupiah.

Year on year, women workers' average wage has remained below that of men. In 2015 the average wage for men was 2.18 million rupiah a month and women 1.86 million rupiah. In 2016 men earned an average of 2.76 million rupiah compared to women at 2.19 million. And in 2017 the average wage for men was 2.99 million and women 2.3 million rupiah a month.

"Although they earn less than men, it does mean that an awareness has begun on the part of job providers that women must also be given a safety net", said Brodjonegoro.

Women however are not just losing out in terms of wages, but also in terms of workforce participation which is still lower than men. For example, out of every 10 men around 8.3 are employed, while out of every 10 women, only 5.2 are working.

Over the last 20 years, women's workforce participation level (TPAK) has stagnated at around 50 percent. In 2018 women's TPAK was only 51.88 percent compared with 82.69 percent for men.

Nevertheless, according to the BPS the participation of women in the workforce with a tertiary education has increased quite significantly. For women with low levels of education meanwhile, particularly in rural areas, they have tended to end up working in the informal sector. (das/ara)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Upah Buruh Wanita dari Tahun ke Tahun Masih di Bawah Pria".]

Source: https://finance.detik.com/berita-ekonomi-bisnis/d-4293408/upah-buruh-wanita-dari-tahun-ke-tahun-masih-di-bawah-pria

Political parties & elections

Democrats champion SBY's achievements, not Prabowo's

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Jakarta – Democratic Party legislative candidates have been directed to campaign by championing the achievements of party chairman and former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) during his two-term presidency.

"We explain everything achieved by the Democrats over 10 years, from 2004 to 2014, when president SBY led this country," Democratic leader and SBY's son Agus Harimurti said at a party event in Central Jakarta on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com.

Despite the Democratic Party's official support for the Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno presidential ticket, the party's leadership is also allowing its members to support President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's reelection bid.

"An internal Democratic Party survey shows that the majority [of party members] choose Pak Prabowo, but there are also some who, according to the culture of their region, support Pak Jokowi," Democratic executive Edhie Baskoro said. "We cannot punish [those who support Jokowi], we can only urge them [to support Prabowo]."

The Democratic Party's membership in the opposition coalition initially hung in the balance, with the party still undecided just hours before Prabowo and Sandiaga registered their candidacy with the General Elections Commission (KPU).

The Democrats' alliance with the Gerindra Party chairman was thrown into a tailspin when Prabowo informed them that he was considering then-Jakarta deputy governor Sandiaga as his running mate, when Agus had previously been among the frontrunners for the vice presidential slot.

Democratic executive Agus Hermanto said the party was focusing on both the legislative and presidential elections.

"Right now the Democratic Party is fighting for the legislative and presidential elections. We must be successful in both," he said on Tuesday. "We want to repeat our days of glory from 2009. If not, at least approaching that. Everything has to be better than in 2014."

The Democrats won 20.85 percent of the vote in the 2009 legislative election, when SBY was at the height of his popularity, giving the party more House of Representative seats than any other party. The party fell to fourth place in the 2014 election, garnering only 10.19 percent of the vote. (kmt)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/14/democrats-champion-sbys-achievements-not-prabowos.html

Expert: Jokowi, Prabowo stuck in sarcastic politics

Tempo - November 12, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Both presidential hopefuls from the ruling and the opposing parties have equally shared several political mishaps and exchanged unsubstantial statements on the 2019 presidential election campaign.

Recent examples of these were when Prabowo Subianto made a demeaning comment about the Boyolali people and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo when he linked the current political climate to the mythical 'Genderuwo' creature.

Lingkar Madani executive director Ray Rangkuti felt that presidential hopefuls are treating their campaign sarcastically. "The political realm is already saturated with nyinyir' politics [sarcastic politics]. Everyone needs to return to a substantive campaign," Rangkuti told Tempo on Sunday.

In the current situation where presidential hopefuls are dully scrutinized, Rangkuti said the statements would only stir up Indonesia's political atmosphere again. "This will result in the public quibbling on statements that are insignificant and paint the campaign's face as a fight filled with offenses, but have yet entered substantial matters," said Rangkuti.

Meanwhile, a political researcher at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Arya Fernandez, said the presidential and vice presidential hopefuls had lost both of their narratives on their programs. As a result, such narratives have sparked emotional and negative narratives.

"Both camps have lost their narratives," Arya told Tempo on Sunday, November 11. Arya said this situation was an irony for both camps, and that they should have vied through ideas and programs.

"Based on the research of several agencies, the public is still unaware of the programs offered by both candidates," Arya said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/12/055923366/Expert–Jokowi-Prabowo-Stuck-in-Sarcastic-Politics

PSI chief Grace Natalie quips Prabowo as conservative politician

Tempo - November 12, 2018

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Chairperson of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) Grace Natalie quipped the presidential candidate number 02 Prabowo Subianto as a conservative politician because he often gave speeches about to stop all imports and talk about foreign dangers. Grace said the speeches were strange and did not show optimism.

"That's the old-style politics, politics that like to spread fear. Genderuwo politician, said Bro Jokowi," Grace Natalie said in her remarks at the fourth PSI anniversary at the Indonesian Convention Exhibition (ICE) in Tangerang, Banten, Sunday, November 11.

Grace gave an example, her party always thought about how Indonesian fashion could be accepted in Paris, how Indonesian music could be loved in New York, or how Indonesian animated films could be played in world cinemas. "That is the difference between young people who are optimistic with the 'sontoloyo' and 'genderuwo' people," Grace said.

The 'sontoloyo' (silly) and 'genderuwo' (a gigantic, scary, humanlike ape) politician are two terms that Jokowi recently made. Later, this term drew debate. Prabowo's camp also responded to Jokowi's speech as a form of panic due to the number of votes in the survey results that did not develop, and fear of losing in the upcoming 2019 presidential election.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/12/055923355/PSI-Chief-Grace-Natalie-Quips-Prabowo-as-Conservative-Politician

AHY claims Democrat doesn't depend on Prabowo's coat tail effect

Tempo - November 12, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Jakarta – Chairman of Democratic Party's Joint Task Force Command (Kogasma) Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono or AHY said his party did not depend on the coattail effect from the proposed presidential and vice presidential candidates. AHY said his party had its own strategies for the winning in the 2019 legislative elections.

"No. If we depend on the coattail effect it means that we hope too much. Hope is not a strategy," said Agus after the closing of the debriefing of legislative candidates for the House of Representatives of the Democratic Party at the Golden Ballroom in The Sultan Hotel, Jakarta, November 11.

AHY said a number of survey institutions noted that the coattail effect would only be enjoyed by the Gerindra Party and the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle or PDI-P, which have the presidential candidates.

One survey that noted the coattail effect was the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI) Denny JA. LSI Denny JA researcher, Adjie Al Faraby, said the presidential figures, Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto, only had a significant effect on their respective parties, namely PDI-P and Gerindra. Adjie said both did not give electoral incentives to their bearer parties in the 2019 presidential election.

AHY said the togetherness of his party with Prabowo-Sandiaga was inevitable. Even so, Democratic Party will focus on the victory of legislative elections. "We do not want to take the wrong path or determine the wrong strategy in winning of the legislative candidates," he said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/12/055923346/AHY-Claims-Democrat-Doesnt-Depend-on-Prabowos-Coat-Tail-Effect

SBY: Jakarta 2017 election sparked negative political traits

Tempo - November 11, 2018

Francisca Christy Rosana, Jakarta – Democrat Party Chairman Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) is determined that Indonesia's political climate underwent a change that is burdened with SARA (ethnicity, religion, and race) issues after the 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election (Pilkada).

"SARA and identity politics arose, influenced by ideology and certain understandings," SBY said in a Democrat Party event attended by the party's legislation hopefuls today, Nov. 9.

He maintained that the rise of identity politics and similar issues housing extreme narratives are likened as a disease for the country's politics and democracy, where the public is faced with situations prone to disruption among them.

SBY called for his party cadres to put forth positive political narratives, either members that are running for regional legislation, Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), or political party leaders. He also reminded presidential and vice presidential hopefuls to maintain a positive attitude toward the election in 2019.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/10/055923322/SBY-Jakarta-2017-Election-Sparked-Negative-Political-Traits

Presidential candidates yet to offer concrete program or vision to

CNN Indonesia - November 10, 2018

Jakarta – Since the presidential election campaign began two months ago, presidential hopefuls incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and challenger Prabowo Subianto have yet to offer a substantial vision or program to the public. Both camps have instead largely focused on debating sensational issues.

New Media Watch executive director Agus Sudibyo admits to being surprised by Widodo and Prabowo's election campaign teams which have not yet discussed their programs or visions in public.

Sudibyo believes that since the campaign began, what has been taking place are actions and reactions over petty and trifling issues which have even tended towards fake news.

Based on his research, Sudibyo is convinced that the sensational content of the campaigns will not have any influence on either camp in the elections.

"The hoaxes thrown up by Prabowo's team have only solidified Prabowo's supporters, they haven't influence other parties. The hoaxes thrown up by the Jokowi camp have only solidified their camp", said Sudibyo in a discussion at the PARA Syndicate think-tank offices in South Jakarta on Friday November 9.

PARA Syndicate executive director Ari Nurcahyo says he is extremely disappointed with the election campaign. Nurcahyo gave the example of the political language used by the two camps such as "tempeh prices" [referring to a squabble over tempeh prices in Jakarta markets], "Boyolali faces" [referring to a controversial joke made by Prabowo], "sontoloyo" [foolish, stupid] and "genderuwo" [politics that centre on fear] which have created more confusion than substance.

Nurcahyo is of the view that the campaign atmosphere in the 2014 elections – which also pitted Widodo against Prabowo – was far healthier than now.

He well remembers the terms that were introduced by Widodo during the 2014 presidential election campaign such as "sea toll", "maritime axis", "building the country from the margins" and "mental revolution", which developed their own traction and contributed to some degree to the victory of the former Solo mayor.

"It was amazing jargon, but it doesn't exist now. So far we still don't know what Nawa Cita [Wododo's nine point priority program] version 2 talks about", said Nurcahyo accusingly.

A similar criticism was leveled at the opposition camp. In Nurcahyo's view the Prabowo campaign team's promise to take up economic issues as the central discourse is still far from what is actually being talked about, such as Prabowo's vice presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno who has repeatedly taken up the issue of tempeh prices.

"Economics are not just about prices right. [They need to take up] bigger issues, that's what hasn't emerged", he said.

Youth vote

Agus Sudibyo suspects that if this pattern of campaigning continues through to the end of the campaign, many youth voters will not use their right to vote. Based on research that he has studied, youth voters represent a large population and are rational in character.

Sudibyo estimate that there are still around 40-44 percent of youth voters who are either undecided or soft voters who could still change their mind in 2019.

Youth voters are on average literate, rational, less committed to any particular candidate or party and are less lightly to make their choice at the last minute because they are waiting to see what program is being offered by the presidential candidates.

"As of two months [into the campaign] we have not yet seen or no campaign program is visible, it's still a vacuum. If this isn't addressed, I'm convinced that that the number who will golput [abstain from voting] will be even higher", said Sudibyo.

He quotes from a Kompas research and development survey published in October which put the electability of Widodo and his vice presidential running mate Ma'ruf Amin at around 52.6 percent, Prabowo and Sandiaga Uno at around 32.7 percent and 14.7 percent who declined to reveal their choice. Meanwhile the number of floating voters or those who had yet to make their choice stood at 46.8 percent.

The survey also found that 30.2 percent of Widodo-Ma'ruf voters could still change their vote, while in the Prabowo-Sandiaga camp around 34.2 percent could potentially change their minds.

The survey polled 1,200 respondents in 34 provinces with a confidence level of 95 percent and a 2.8 percent margin of error.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Jokowi dan Prabowo Dinilai Belum Tawarkan Program dan Gagasan".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181109202143-20-345376/jokowi-dan-prabowo-dinilai-belum-tawarkan-program-dan-gagasan

After 'sontoloyo', here comes 'genderuwo': Jokowi slams fear-mongering

Jakarta Post - November 9, 2018

Marguerite Afra Sapiie and Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – In remarks that have ruffled political feathers, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has used an Indonesian folklore reference to describe politicians who spread the propaganda of fear in their political campaigns, referring to them as "genderuwo" politicians.

Speaking at an event held to distribute land certificates in Tegal, Central Java, the President criticized politicians who campaigned with fear-mongering messages that caused people to worry and become anxious.

Jokowi, who is running for reelection, said politicians who attempted to influence public opinion by creating worry and fear did not have good political ethics and manners.

"Such politics is unethical; how can [the politicians] frighten their own people? This is called genderuwo politics, [because it] spreads fear."

Genderuwo is part of Javanese mythology, which according to the official Indonesian dictionary is about a ghost in muscular human form with thick hair all over the body.

In "The Religion of Java" (1976) book, American anthropologist Clifford Geertz considers genderuwo a memedi type, which consists of spirits who are rather harmless although still terrifying to humans.

The President later asserted that genderuwo politics "must be stopped", as he said politicians must be able to assist the public in developing their political maturity so that they vote with a clear head.

Jokowi, however, refused to answer when asked about whom he was specifically referring to when he mentioned genderuwo politicians.

The President's usage of the term genderuwo comes following his use of the word "sontoloyo" (foolish) late last month to comment on the backlash against his administration's subdistrict fund program, which the opposition called a political stunt.

At the time, Jokowi warned people of politicians who tried to influence them with their remarks. "Be careful, there are many good politicians but there are also many 'sontoloyo' politicians."

Executives of political parties backing Jokowi's reelection bid have related the incumbent's speech to political campaigns ahead of the 2019 election, where Jokowi and his running mate Ma'ruf Amin will go head- to-head with rival Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno.

Golkar Party executive Ace Hasan Syadzily said genderuwo politics was a symbolic term for those who spread pessimistic views about the nation in their campaigns.

"They talk as if we are facing an economic crisis by saying that the prices of commodities have surged in the markets, driving people to feel anxious about economic conditions, while in fact conditions have improved," Ace said.

The opposition camp has been using economic issues in its campaign. For instance, vice presidential candidate Sandiaga has been criticizing the prices of staple foods, such as by claiming that tempeh was being sold in portions "as thin as credit cards" because of rising prices.

Abdul Kadir Karding, the National Awakening Party (PKB) secretary-general, took a direct jab at presidential contender Prabowo, saying "If Pak Prabowo conveys pessimism frequently and uses the propaganda of fear, maybe one of [the politicians] referred to [by Jokowi] is Pak Prabowo."

The Prabowo-Sandiaga camp said it was not offended by Jokowi's remarks, with Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician Mardani Ali Sera saying that Jokowi appeared as if he wanted to compete with Sandiaga's popularity. "We are not [offended]," Mardani said, "We should not be sappy in politics."

Another PKS politician, Suhud Aliyudin, said the term genderuwo politicians would be better used to refer to the incumbent's administration because "there were many campaign promises that had not been fulfilled."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/after-sontoloyo-here-comes-genderuwo-jokowi-slams-fear-mongering-politicians.html

Fake news & black campaigns

Jokowi, Prabowo camp calls on truce, positive campaign onwards

Tempo - November 13, 2018

Arkhelaus Wisnu Triyogo, Jakarta – Both Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Prabowo Subianto's supporters agreed to drop any campaign materials that are deemed irrelevant for the 2019 presidential election campaign. Both camps agreed to run a mature campaign that promotes each presidential hopeful's programs.

Prabowo-Sandiaga campaign team leader Eddy Soeparno said that his camp will avoid using campaign materials that are waterlogged with symbolism and metaphors. He agreed that the current campaign material has reduced public's empathy toward presidential hopefuls.

"If we don't acknowledge issues arising among the public, we are afraid that people's apathy would grow even stronger," said Eddy to Tempo when we reached him yesterday.

Furthermore, Eddy maintained that the people have been apathetic in the wake of the 2019 presidential election which could potentially lead to a low participation rate. He said that the Prabowo camp plans to hold factual academic-based discussions to discuss economic issues.

Meanwhile, the Jokowi – Ma'ruf Amin campaign team manager Maman Imanulhaq said that his team has already prepared the materials needed to promote the programs that their presidential and vice presidential hopefuls would implement in the future.

Jokowi's camp, which will focus on infrastructure and economic development, women and child protection, and creating more job opportunities. "Both camps should talk more constructively," said Maman.

Meanwhile, Jokowi's campaign team spokesman Ace Hasan Syadzily said that they were forced to postpone their strategy upon program-based discussion because they had to clarify several statements from the Prabowo camp.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/13/055923386/Jokowi-Prabowo-Camp-Calls-on-Truce-Positive-Campaign-Onwards

PDI-P calls 'King Jokowi' posters demeaning, orders their removal

Jakarta Post - November 13, 2018

Ganug Nugroho Adi, Boyolali – The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI-P) Central Java office has instructed members to remove posters depicting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo as a Javanese king that have popped up around the provincial capital of Semarang.

"We have deployed hundreds of members to remove the posters. The PDI-P Central Java office instructed us to do so. We didn't put up the posters," PDI-P Boyolali secretary Sarno said on Tuesday.

The party found roughly 100 posters in 16 districts, tribunnews.com reported.

The posters show Jokowi wearing traditional Javanese clothing and Javanese-style crown, the PDI-P logo and the words "Let's work for the people." Supriyadi said most of the posters had been nailed to trees, while some were posted on the back of public minibuses.

"Many of the drivers said they had agreed to having a poster [on their buses] because it had a picture of Jokowi on it. They were given Rp 100 per vehicle," he said. "Until now, we do not know where the posters came from and who put them up everywhere."

PDI-P Central Java head Bambang Muryanto said the posters demeaned Jokowi by making him seem like a monarch, which was at odds with a democratic country.

"In a democracy there are no kings, there are elections," he said. "[The posters] demean Pak Jokowi."

He added that he suspected the posters were put up by Jokowi's political opponents as neither the regional or national campaign teams had produced them.

Central Java is considered a PDI-P stronghold, with Jokowi winning 66.6 percent of the vote in the province in the 2014 presidential election.

The posters appeared not long after presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto made a quip about "Boyolali faces" that was pounced on by the Jokowi team.

Prabowo's campaign team has denied any involvement in producing and installing the posters. "It's funny how everything is blamed on us," Gerindra Party and Prabowo campaign spokesman Andre Rosiade told reporters on Monday. (kmt/swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/13/pdi-p-calls-king-jokowi-posters-demeaning-orders-their-removal.html

Jokowi warns of Indonesians who spread narratives of fear

Tempo - November 12, 2018

Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, Jakarta – In his speech at the Indonesia Solidarity Party (PSI) fourth anniversary, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo expressed his optimism toward the potential of the country's young generation. He underlined that it must be under conducive climates and free of fears.

"Other nations fear our young generations, but how come some of the people in our country are trying to scare this generation," said President Jokowi on Sunday, November 11.

The president warned PSI members upon the threat of people who are spreading fear among the young Indonesians instead of spreading hope.

"[They don't need] fear narratives or 'genderuwo' politics that centers on fear," the president maintained. According to Wikipedia, Genderuwo is a Javanese myth about a type of the jinn or spirit that can manifest into human-like apes.

In the end, President Jokowi reminded PSI members to focus on self-improvement and build the strengths within oneself, which must be assisted by strong faith. "Being alert is guided by strength, not fear," said the president.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/12/055923353/Jokowi-Warns-of-Indonesians-who-Spread-Narratives-of-Fear

Beware what you share: Police step up war on hoaxes

Jakarta Post - November 12, 2018

Jakarta – Internet users should think twice before sharing anything on social media, with the National Police now intensifying their crackdown on online hoaxes by prosecuting not only the masterminds of the misinformation but also those who might have shared it with no malicious intent.

In one of the biggest crackdowns on fake news, the National Police's criminal investigation division (Bareskrim) has charged 16 individuals with spreading fake news about a wave of child kidnapping across the country and false information regarding Lion Air flight JT610, which crashed into the Java Sea last month.

One of the individuals, identified only as AN, 30, allegedly posted a video on her Facebook account that was not related to the crash.

Her motive, according to a document released by the National Police, was to convey her condolences about the missing crew and passengers. "[I offer] my condolences about the downed Lion Air flight JT610 from Jakarta to Pangkalpinang. I hope all the victims are found soon. Amen," she wrote in the video's caption as quoted in the document.

AN is not alone. Others have also been accused of spreading hoaxes despite their claims that they had no intention of causing the public to worry.

AZ, 21, who has been charged with spreading a fake kidnapping video, claimed she had spread the video "because of her empathy as a mother, and because she was worried about the news circulating on social media".

National Police spokesman Insp. Gen. Setyo Wasisto said the investigation into the suspects was based on reports from citizens as well as findings from the police's cyber team.

"The suspects allegedly obtain the information from someone else, then edit it so that it incites fear among citizens. The fake kidnapping news, for example, could raise concerns among mothers," Setyo told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.

The police charged all the suspects under Article 14 Paragraph 2 of Law No. 1/1946 on the Criminal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of three years behind bars.

In October, the police named nine people suspects for allegedly spreading misinformation about huge earthquakes in West Nusa Tenggara and Jakarta only days after a 7.4-magnitude earthquake jolted Palu and Donggala in Central Sulawesi.

The police's move has sparked concern among civil liberty activists, who believe the move was excessive.

The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) called on the police to be more prudent in prosecuting people suspected of spreading fake news, saying that they must ensure the suspects intended to provoke or cause a disturbance when they spread misinformation.

"The 1946 Criminal Code Law also stipulates a high measure of chaos. Commotion among netizens isn't enough to trigger the 'chaos' article of the law and use it as a basis for suspect naming," ICJR executive director Anggara said.

ICT watch researcher Sherly Haristya echoed Anggara's statement, saying it might not be appropriate to name someone a suspect if they did not have any malicious intent when distributing the news.

"We should be more careful not to generalize the definition of fake news in order not to violate freedom of expression, especially for people who are still learning to be more literate in using [social] media," Sherly said.

Setyo dismissed concerns surrounding the prosecution. "We conducted a thorough investigation and found them to have played a role in spreading fake news."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/beware-what-you-share-police-step-war-hoaxes-fake-news.html

Sharia & discriminatory by-laws

Accused of Islamophobia, PSI argues rejecting religion-based laws not

Coconuts Jakarta - November 14, 2018

The Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) is one of the country's youngest and certainly its most progressive political party. Although some have questioned their effectiveness and motives, PSI officials are among the very few Indonesian politicians to have spoken out against the country's increasing number of religion-based laws, a stance party founder Grace Natalie reiterated at an event marking the party's fourth anniversary on Sunday.

"PSI will stop the creation of injustice, discrimination and all acts of intolerance in this country. PSI will never support regulations based on the Gospel or sharia," Grace said during her speech at the anniversary event.

That has, of course, earned PSI the ire of other Indonesian political parties, most of which lie far on the opposite side of the progressive-conservative scale. Recently, several politicians accused the young political party of rejecting religion and even "Islamophobia" for their views, a very serious charge in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

A spokesperson for the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Suhud Aliyudin, said that PSI's stance was tantamount to rejecting religion itself, which went against Indonesia's founding principles of Pancasila. He then went further, comparing PSI to the long defunct yet still somehow villainized Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).

"Only the PKI reject religion, the spirit of rejecting religion goes against Pancasila," Suhud said as quoted by Radar Bogor.

The outspoken deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Party, Andi Arief, took to Twitter to compare PSI to another now defunct socialist party (PRD), saying that "PSI seems to have been set up to create space for Islamophobia, they are also not serious about serving in Parliament. PRD was able to open up democracy, PSI has enlarged tensions."

PSI spokesperson Dini Shanti Purwono shot back at those who equated rejecting religion-based laws with rejecting religion, saying that they were the ones who were actually going against the spirit of Pancasila.

First, she noted that while Pancasila recognizes the one and only God, it was specifically designed not support any one particular religion over another. Dini further argued that the nation's founders considered religion-based laws to be contrary to their idea of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

"Religion-based regulation are not in accordance with the spirit of unity, they make the community divided and they have the potential to threaten national unity," Dini told CNN Indonesia.

Dini also noted that PSI respected all religious beliefs and that the party's members came from many different backgrounds including Muslim organizations such as Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah.

Whatever you think of PSI, you have to respect them for being one of the only parties brave enough to speak out on this issue. If the national creed of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika ("Unity in Diversity") is to remain true, then more people will need to find the courage to speak out as well.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/accused-islamophobia-psi-argues-rejecting-religion-based-laws-doesnt-equal-rejecting-religion/

Prabowo camp champions religious bylaws, says only the PKI rejects

Suara - November 14, 2018

Reza Gunadha, Ria Rizki Nirmala Sari – The Prabowo Subianto-Sandiaga Uno election campaign team (BPN) has responded sarcastically to a statement by the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) – a supporter of incumbent President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo – rejecting religious based bylaws.

BPN spokesperson Suhud Aliyudin believes that the PSI's position of not supporting perda [bylaws] based on Islamic law or the Bible conflicts with the state ideology of Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945).

He asserted that the PSI should first understand Pancasila and the UUD 45 as an ideology before making controversial statements such as this.

"On the PSI, we think that they must first understand the state ideology of Pancasila and the UUD 1945 which respect religion. Only the PKI [the banned Indonesian Communist Party] rejects religion", claimed Aliyudin when speaking with Suara.com on Wednesday November 14.

Aliyudin also explained that Indonesia is country whose society embraces various religions. Moreover the nation's founding fathers placed religion first in the five principles of Pancasila.

Because of this therefore, Aliyudin is convinced that rejecting religion conflicts with these two basic principles of the state. "Enthusiastically rejecting religion conflicts with Pancasila and the UUD 1945", he said.

As has been reported, the PSI stated recently that it will never support regional regulations based on religion and it will reject perda based on the Bible or Islamic law.

PSI Secretary General Raja Juli Antoni said that perda based on religion have destroyed social unity in Indonesia. Given the diversity that exists in Indonesia, Antoni believes that religious based bylaws threaten national unity.

PSI General Chairperson Grace Natalie has also expressed a similar view saying that the PSI will never support bylaws based on the Bible or syariah [Islamic law].

Because, these bylaws restrict social freedom such as those which make it obligatory for students to wear certain clothing which can restrict the freedom of religious communities in performing their religious duties.

"The PSI will block the rise of injustice, discrimination and all forms of intolerance in this country. The PSI will never support perda [based on the] Bible or perda [based on] syariah. No longer will places of worship be allowed to be forcibly closed", said Natalie during the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the PSI at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE-BSD) in Tangerang, Banten.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "PSI Anti Perda Agama, Kubu Prabowo: yang Begitu Cuma PKI".]

Source: https://www.suara.com/news/2018/11/14/134341/psi-anti-perda-agama-kubu-prabowo-yang-begitu-cuma-pki

Internet & social media

Indonesia scores low in video experience

Jakarta Post - November 12, 2018

Jakarta – Indonesians experience some of the poorest quality online video compared with other Southeast Asian countries, a recent study has shown.

The study, conducted by OpenSignal, a United States-based company that specializes in mapping wireless coverage, found that Indonesia scored a total 45 out of the maximum 100 in its indicators, thus putting the country in sixth place out of the eight surveyed countries in the region.

In comparison, Singapore scored the highest at 67, while the Philippines scored the lowest at 35. Interestingly, Myanmar, a country that only recently opened up to foreign investment, ranked the second best at 55. The study, which was conducted from June to September, attributed Indonesia's poor video-watching experience to slow internet download speeds, which averaged less than 10 megabits per second (mbps) in Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

"It is no surprise that the six countries have a low score," said OpenSignal as reported by kompas.com.

OpenSignal also compared the video-watching experience between five Indonesian telecommunication service providers and found that the highest scorer was Telkomsel (53) followed by XL (45), Smartfren (40), Tri (39) and Indosat (31).

OpenSignal said that Telkomsel's and XL's scores were just "fair" because "very good" meant scoring over 65. (brf)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/indonesia-scores-low-in-video-experience.html

Environment & natural disasters

In Indonesia, businesses put on front-line of war on plastic

Asian Correspondent - November 13, 2018

Basten Gokkon – The Indonesian government is set to make consumer goods manufacturers more responsible for managing the waste from their product packaging, in a bid to tackle one of the worst plastic trash problems in the world.

The regulation, expected before the end of this year, is part of a wider effort to cut Indonesia's waste output by 30 percent by 2025 from current levels, according to Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the environment ministry's head of waste management.

The so-called extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulation will oblige producers and retailers to redesign their product packaging to have a higher proportion of recyclable material. It will also require that they take greater responsibility for the management of waste from their products.

Those affected will include makers of processed foods and beverages, who rely heavily on plastic packaging for their products. Retailers such as supermarkets and convenience stores will also be subject to the EPR requirements in terms of the packaging options they offer customers, as will food and beverage outlets that currently use plastic utensils, plates and cups.

"The roadmap addresses the way [producers carry out] waste reduction, especially for plastic," Vivien told reporters on the sidelines of the recent Our Oceans Conference in Nusa Dua, Bali.

Vivien said an EPR requirement already exists under the Waste Management Act of 2008, but it hasn't been easy to enforce it. "Because when we talk about this problem, we're talking about whether industry is ready to carry out EPR," she said.

Ocean waste was one of the key topics discussed by government officials, business executives and civil society representatives at the Bali oceans conference.

Indonesia, a country of more than 250 million people, is the biggest contributor, after China, to the plastic trash crisis in the oceans. It produces 3.22 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste every year, of which 1.29 million tonnes ends up in the sea, according to environment ministry figures.

The businesses that will be subjected to the EPR regulation will be expected to draw up a 10-year plan identifying the proportion of waste from their products that they will take back and recycle, Vivien said.

They will be required to either set up their own recycling facilities or partner with existing facilities, she added. Producers will also be expected to establish dropboxes where consumers can dispose of their product waste for processing.

Besides the post-retail recycling requirements, producers will have to increase the recyclable content of their products, Vivien said, and ideally look to create goods that are reusable.

"With waste reduction, what we essentially want is to decrease the amount of waste dumping in disposal sites," she said. "We have to approach all stakeholders."

Vivien said her office was in discussions with the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Trade and business associations to design the roadmap for waste reduction by producers.

The government plans to spend US$1 billion over the next five years to reduce marine waste, much of it plastic waste. The goal is to cut it by 70 percent by 2025, according to the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs.

The Industry Ministry will have "the biggest role in controlling plastics over the next five years," according to Safri Burhanuddin, a senior official at the coordinating ministry.

The Industry Ministry has previously opposed EPR requirements, saying it's enough just to oblige manufacturers to ensure their products include some amount of recyclable content.

"We must assure them that waste management has profitable aspects and cost reduction," Vivien said. "When we talk about waste management, we want to talk about a circular economy."

EPR is an established practice in many countries, with proven economic benefits. The South Korean government, for example, introduced such a scheme in 2000 and applied it to packaging made from paper, glass, metal and plastic; as well as lubricants, tires, fluorescent light bulbs, batteries and electronic products.

A 2010 government assessment showed that EPR recycling generated KRW1.7 trillion (US$1.5 billion) in added value and saved KRW1.9 trillion (US$1.68 billion) in incineration and landfill expenses. The study also showed that with the enforcement of EPR from 2001 to 2008, total energy reductions amounted to 3.2 million tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE), or approximately KRW2.6 trillion (US$2.3 billion) in electricity costs.

Crucially, while South Korea imposes fines and other penalties for noncompliance with its EPR policies, the Indonesian roadmap will not stipulate any such punitive measures for companies that fail to meet their ostensible obligations.

Vivien said she expected the market and consumers to turn away from products made by companies that didn't comply with the new guidelines.

"While we increase talks with business associations, we also must educate the people," she said, adding that her office was working with civil society and religious organisations to promote waste reduction.

"Our way of consumption has so far been created by [producers]. We're used to using [plastic] straws because of the industry, we're used to using sachets because the industry created them," Vivien said.

Environmental groups have long called for increased producer responsibility in waste management.

Greenpeace Indonesia carried out an audit on plastic waste across the country in 2017, and found that much of it was dominated by plastic bottles and packaging from products made by multinational and local producers, including Univeler, Danone, Indofood, Wings and Orang Tua.

"It's important for producers to take over the responsibility for the waste from their own products," said Rahyang Nusantara, a coordinator from the Indonesia Plastic Bag Diet Movement (GIDKP), an advocacy group.

"The Industry Ministry needs to encourage businesses to embrace that change," he added. "Business development must go along with sustainable and responsible efforts to protect the environment. Degraded environment will eventually affect the business climate."

[This article first appeared on Mongabay.]

Source: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2018/11/indonesia-businesses-front-line-war-on-plastic/

Scientists slam govt for giving nod to Batang Toru dam

Jakarta Post - November 13, 2018

Kharishar Kahfi and Evi Mariani, Jakarta – Scientists have slammed the Indonesian government for giving the controversial Batang Toru hydroelectric power plant the green light, saying that orangutans are valuable to Indonesia, like pandas are to China.

Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar said the government believed that the dam would have little impact on the Tapanuli orangutans, the rarest great ape on earth, which environmentalists call the last 800 due to its small number.

The scientists said Indonesia risked its global reputation if it does not protect them.

Jatna Supriatna from the University of Indonesia said the great apes – orangutans, bonobos, chimpanzees and gorillas – have always piqued the interest of the global public. "The last 800 are Indonesia's responsibility."

The dam, located in the Batang Toru Ecosystem in South Tapanuli regency, North Sumatra, has faced protests from biologists and environmentalists because it could potentially affect the lives of local people and the orangutans.

The Indonesian Environmental Forum (Walhi) has filed a lawsuit against the plan, claiming that the dam would affect the livelihood of farmers in the downstream area because it would arrest the flow of the river for 18 hours and the dam would be opened for the remaining six.

The operating company, PT North Sumatra Hydro Electric (NSHE), said the dam would use environmentally friendly run-for-river technology, which would allow it to flood only a small area.

Scientists, who confirmed last year that the Tapanuli orangutans were a separate species from their Bornean and Sumatran counterparts, said the existence of roads, power lines and the dam itself would pose increased risks to the already endangered species. In an article in the peer-reviewed journal Current Biology this year, they wrote "when new roads appeared, apes disappeared".

Siti claimed that the ongoing construction of the hydropower plant would have little effect on the orangutan population, as the dam was located on the forest's border, where the cinnamon-haired great apes live.

The minister added that based on data collected by a team from the ministry, the construction of the power plant would not affect the orangutans' habitat.

"Humans and orangutans can still co-exist," Siti said recently, adding that the ministry had instructed the power plant's developer to maintain the great apes' existing corridor.

William F. Laurance, the director of the Center for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science at James Cook University and one of the writers of the article in Current Biology, said the government should never have approved the project in the first place because it was an environmental calamity for the world's rarest great ape.

"For the [ministry] to try to monitor the project is merely providing 'greenwashing', or a false sense of security. It is not helping the Tapanuli ape and it is merely confusing the Indonesian people," Laurance added.

The project is financially backed by a consortium of Chinese and international banks, while the dam's contractor is Synohydro Corporation Limited, a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company.

'Efforts far from sufficient'

The ministry's natural resources and ecosystems director general, Wiratno, backed Siti's statement, saying that his team had yet to find any orangutan killed by humans so far.

However, he said he would like to see more effort from the company, adding that planting some fruit trees in a village near the project's location to conserve the endangered species was far from sufficient.

The apes, whose hair is frizzier than their Bornean and Sumatran counterparts, are threatened by poaching and illegal logging. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has included the species on its red list, calling it critically endangered.

"I still want tangible, comprehensive and measured efforts from the NSHE on how it would prevent the orangutans from being disturbed during construction. [These efforts should also be] announced to the public," Wiratno said.

Jatna, who is one of the authors of the Current Biology article, also criticized NSHE's inadequate plan to protect the critically endangered apes.

"This big company will affect the species' habitat. There should be an action plan on the orangutans' protection, which should also be made available to the public," Jatna said.

Biologist Erik Meijaard, who was among the researchers who confirmed that the Tapanuli orangutans were a separate species, said we should save them "because we can, and because it is ethically the right thing to do".

"If we let species become extinct it shows that we are incapable of looking after the world in which we live. And if we are unable to look after the world in which we live, we, ourselves, will soon become extinct. If we want to survive on this planet we have to start living in greater harmony with the world around us, and taking care of other species is one crucial step in that. It is all part of growing up as humans," he added.

Meijaard also reminded the Indonesian government of its regulations for animal conservation, which "spell out clearly that it is illegal to undertake actions that lead to the death or displacement of protected species or its nests".

NSHE said the hydropower plant would be in line with nature conservation principles, adding that it would use "run-of-river technology", which it claimed to be environment friendly. It confirmed that only 67.7 hectares in Batang Toru would be flooded and that excluded the orangutans' habitat.

A senior adviser at NSHE, Agus Djoko Ismanto, said all mitigation studies that the power plant could potentially inflict, ranging from environmental to socioeconomic damages, have been completed by the company.

The company said it was committed to forest protection because a healthy forest meant a healthy river for its plant.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/scientists-slam-govt-for-giving-nod-to-batang-toru-dam.html

Floods sweep through North Sumatra, Riau and West Java

Jakarta Post - November 8, 2018

Rizal Harahap and Apriadi Gunawan, Pekanbaru and Medan – Heavy rain in the western part of the country recently resulted in floods and landslides in several provinces, including North Sumatra, Riau and West Java, claiming the lives of a number of people.

The body of Ulin Muslikin, a resident of Kebun Lado village in Singingi district, Riau, was found on Thursday morning after a three-day search. The 25-year-old gold miner had reportedly attempted to cross the overflowing Singingi River on Tuesday.

"The incident happened on Tuesday at about 9 a.m. [after heavy rain]," Singingi district head Irfansyah said Thursday.

"Soon after receiving a report on the incident, search and rescue teams set out on two speedboats and four canoes to look for the victim. The teams found the body this morning," he said.

Ulin's body was taken to the Singingi health center for an autopsy and will later be buried in his hometown in Pati, Central Java.

In Mandailing Natal, North Sumatra, flooding displaced thousands on Wednesday night. Water from the overflowing Batang Gadis River in the regency swept through housing areas and damaged roads.

"Many houses have been swept away. We are recording the number," Mandailing Natal Disaster Mitigation Agency head Sulpardi said.

At least nine districts have been inundated, namely Lingga Bayu, Panyabungan, Kotanopan, Tambangan, Hutabargot, Panyabungan Selatan, Batang Natal, Kecamatan Naga Juang and Panyabungan Timur.

Displaced persons are being housed in a multipurpose building on Jl. Mandailing in the regency. Sulpardi said some schools had been closed because of flooding.

Flooding occurred in the same regency last month, claiming 17 lives. Twelve of the victims were students of a local elementary school who had been studying in their classroom.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned of the possibility of intense rainfall in the next two weeks in the western part of the country. People have also been cautioned about the potential for landslides and flash floods.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/08/floods-sweep-through-north-sumatra-riau-and-west-java.html

For banks funding palm oil giants, it pays to stop destructive practices

Asian Correspondent - November 8, 2018

Tessa Toumbourou – On Sept 19, Indonesian President Joko Widodo slapped a three-year moratorium on the issuance of new licenses for oil palm plantations.

The moratorium was introduced to "improve governance of sustainable palm plantations, provide legal certainty, maintain environmental sustainability and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases," a senior official told AFP.

President Jokowi, as he is popularly known, has also ordered a review of existing oil palm licenses, to assess compliance with prevailing laws.

The announcement has been welcomed as a move in the right direction by watchdog groups in Indonesia, though with some reserve. Arie Rompas, forest campaigner at Greenpeace, says that while it's a positive step, it's "marred by inconsistencies and loopholes."

Most concerning, he says, is that it exempts large tracts of forest controlled by district governments in land zoned as "other-use areas," or APL, outside of the state-controlled "forest zone."

According to the "State of the Forest 2018" report published by Indonesia's forestry ministry, there are 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) of natural forest (defined as primary and secondary forests) in APL where oil palm can continue to expand.

For communities like Long Bentuk, a village inhabited by indigenous Dayak people in eastern Borneo, who are locked in a struggle to protect their ancestral forests, the moratorium offers little protection.

Despite its once-extensive forests, Long Bentuk's land is zoned as APL in government maps. This allowed the district government to hand out concessions for much of the land belonging to Long Bentuk and surrounding villages in 2006.

Despite the Long Bentuk community's decade-long effort to protect its land, neighboring villages eventually conceded to companies' pressure to release land for plantations. Due in part to a lack of clear village boundaries, palm oil companies have expanded over much of Long Bentuk's ancestral forests.

Benediktus Beng Liu, the former chief of Long Bentuk, describes his frustration at the loss of his community's ancestral forest: "The forest is where we find wood for our canoes and houses, rattan for weaving, where we go hunting," he says.

The conversion of forests upstream to oil palm estates has affected water and soil quality and caused an increase in flooding. Without forest habitat, animals consume rice, cocoa and fruit crops in plague-like proportions. Once-plentiful resources for food, medicine, building and weaving are now increasingly difficult to find, and a food shortage is emerging in the village.

Three of the companies that now occupy Long Bentuk's land are linked to the Triputra Group, a conglomerate owned by Indonesia's billionaire Rachmat family.

In 2013, Triputra received a syndicated loan of US$470 million led by Asian banking giants HSBC and DBS, and involving 12 other international banks, to finance expansion of its oil palm plantations.

Land clearing, which had stalled for a period after villagers protested, ramped up again in Long Bentuk soon after the money was disbursed. A key factor enabling corporate oil palm expansion is funding from banks.

The industry is capital-intensive, and establishing plantations requires significant upfront financing: mills and refineries must be built to process the palm fruit and its derivatives, and land cleared to make way for oil palm trees, which take three to five years to begin yielding fruit, and seven years to reach maximum production.

At least US$50 million is needed to convert 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) of land (and any forest on it) into an oil palm plantation.

Most companies need to borrow money to establish their estates, making them dependent on banks to finance their expansion. The portion of funding that palm oil companies receive from banks differs from business group to business group, says Jan Willem van Gelder from the Netherlands-based research organisation Profundo.

"Usually, the support offered by bank loans can be seen as significant, which I would define as 15 percent or more," he says. Bank financing enabling oil palm expansion

Research by Profundo and Indonesian NGO TuK indicates that, through placing pressure on companies to maximise dividends and returns on investment, banks can create an incentive for companies to clear land as rapidly as possible to get oil palm trees in the ground.

Between 2010 and 2016, international banks provided palm oil companies in Indonesia with more than US$15 billion in corporate loans, according to an online database run by a coalition of NGOs including Profundo and Rainforest Action Network.

Banks from Japan, Malaysia, China, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States are the major backers, with Australian banks also playing a significant role.

Banks' central role as financiers of palm oil serves as an opportunity for the banking sector to turn around environmentally destructive practices and drive up sustainability standards across the supply chain, say financial-sector observers.

Most banks will assess a company's financial systems as part of basic due diligence before issuing a loan, says Tim Steinweg, from the risk analysis group Chain Reaction Research.

"Incorporating sustainability commitments into this stage is not just good for a bank's reputation, it also helps banks to identify and avoid risk," he says.

"It is in a bank's financial self-interest to conduct adequate due diligence in light of these new regulations, to ensure that the companies they invest in are meeting all related regulations and that they have acquired land with the full, prior and informed consent of local communities," Steinweg adds.

"If a bank is found to be financing an illegal operation, it should be of great concern to banks. It means they did not conduct their due diligence properly, and it also diminishes the likelihood of getting their investment back."

Banks can become RSPO members themselves, or require that companies they finance meet RSPO standards. So far, however, "only a minority of banks financing palm oil have joined the RSPO," Savi says. "More support from the banking sector could help the RSPO to drive improvements in the palm oil sector."

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is one tool available to companies and banks to manage and monitor their risk and assess the practices of palm oil companies.

Meeting RSPO standards helps companies across the palm oil supply chain conduct thorough due diligence, allowing them to identify and respond to issues where they emerge. It helps companies avoid "stranded assets," says Stefano Savi, the RSPO's director of global outreach and engagement.

"For grower companies, for example, this might mean land that is acquired, cleared and planted with palm oil without securing 'free, prior, informed consent' from local communities or in violation of no-deforestation commitments, leaving companies with an asset that can't be used."

There are tangible financial benefits for companies and banks to comply with RSPO standards, according to research by the US-based think tank Climate Advisers.

"We found that companies that are RSPO members in good standing – not only do they financially outperform, but they have less risk," says Gabriel Thoumi, director of capital markets at Climate Advisers.

"The companies that are succeeding financially are employing normal business principles in supply chain management – measuring, monitoring and managing risk."

The RSPO has come under criticism for not addressing deforestation, land grabbing and other malpractices by its member companies. One way to strengthen RSPO standards is for critics to become members, Savi suggests.

"The RSPO is designed as a multi-stakeholder organisation. The best way to improve standards is for organisations to become members to have the opportunity to comment on the standards," he says.

Banks must do more to ensure that plantation companies in the RSPO actually adhere to the roundtable's standards, said Marcus Colchester, senior policy advisor with the Forest People's Programme (FPP), which is an RSPO member.

The RSPO requires member companies to audit the land they plan to expand on, mapping virgin rainforests, deep peatlands and other "high-conservation value" areas and setting them aside for conservation. In reality, though, this process is often manipulated to allow companies to clear these areas too.

"In absence of reliable audits, downstream companies, including banks, need to do much more careful screening and 'due diligence' to assess the performance of the operations they buy from or plan to invest in," Colchester says.

On the balcony of the house he built with timber from his community's now-lost ancestral forest, Benediktus, the ex-chief of Long Bentuk, shares his frustration with the banks involved in financing palm oil companies.

"I understand banks give funds to investors to make their money. But banks have to be thorough when they do this," he says.

"Banks that give loans to companies need to do their own verifications. They should survey the field themselves and understand who these companies are, and the response of the communities they affect. If they don't this, banks support the sins of the companies."

[This article first appeared on Mongabay.]

Source: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2018/11/good-banks-funding-palm-oil-improve-industry/

Health & education

Cutting out rice not enough: More lifestyle changes needed to prevent

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Dyaning Pangestika, Jakarta – As the prevalence of diabetes continues to increase at an alarming rate, the government has called on people to adopt healthier lifestyles to reduce their risk of contracting the disease.

The results of the latest Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) report show that the prevalence of diabetes has increased from 6.9 percent of the population in 2013 to 8.5 percent in 2018 based on blood glucose tests at health facilities nationwide.

About 6.3 percent of sufferers are people aged 55 to 64. The survey also showed that the majority of diabetes sufferers are women, and that most live in urban areas.

The Health Ministry's disease control and prevention director general, Anung Sugihantono, urged the public to adopt healthier lifestyles to reduce their risk of diabetes.

Although rice consumption is often blamed as a major cause of diabetes, Anung said that a person could not avoid diabetes simply by replacing rice with other sources of carbohydrate. "Replacing rice with other carbohydrate sources such as corn, cassava, or potato will only slightly reduce the risk of diabetes. It would be better if someone changed their eating habits to become healthier and exercise regularly," Anung told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

However, Anung also said that diabetes was caused by many factors, and that an unhealthy lifestyle could not be blamed as the sole cause.

"Diabetes occurs when there is an imbalance of insulin production in someone's body due to a genetic condition, infection, or unhealthy lifestyle. In conclusion, there are many factors that cause diabetes," Anung said.

Diabetes is a chronic disease where the body becomes incapable of using its insulin to break down glucose or fails to produce enough insulin, resulting in high blood sugar and causing other serious health problems such as vision loss, kidney disease and heart disease.

There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 is caused by an autoimmune condition. The exact cause is unknown, although in the majority of cases it is considered to be genetic factors, while gestational diabetes often occurs among pregnant women and is only temporary.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common and is mostly caused by lifestyle factors, such as excessive body weight caused by overeating and lack of exercise. The condition sees the body start to resist insulin as the excessive amount of glucose forces the body to produce more insulin, causing the body to work twice as hard.

Even though diabetes is mostly experienced by adults aged 24 and above, the Riskesdas also showed that a small percentage of children also suffered from diabetes.

One diabetes survivor is 12-year-old Fulki Baharuddin Prihandoko who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was only 9. His parents started to notice that there was something off when Fulki wet his bed almost every night and lost his weight drastically.

What was more alarming was that his blood sugar levels reached 700 mg/dL at the time he was diagnosed, which is higher than even the average blood sugar level of adults. Fulki was only diagnosed with diabetes after his third visit to the pediatrician, after previous pediatricians failed to see that Fulki was showing the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.

Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) chairman Aman Bhakti Pulungan said that 80 percent of diabetic children in Indonesia suffered from Type 1 diabetes.

"Unfortunately, a lot of pediatricians are still unaware about type 1 diabetes symptoms and mistake it as another disease," Aman said.

The lack of awareness, Aman added, was very dangerous because it would prevent children from receiving the proper medical treatment.

Children who contract polio or coxsackievirus, as well as having vitamin D deficiencies, are at risk of suffering from type 1 diabetes. The symptoms include frequent urination, heavy thirst, weight loss and fatigue.

This article was originally published in The Jakarta Post's print edition on Nov. 12, 2018, with the title "Healthier lifestyle, awareness critical in reducing risk of diabetes".

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/14/cutting-out-rice-not-enough-more-lifestyle-changes-needed-to-prevent-diabetes.html

Teenagers in Java getting high on sanitary pads

Tempo - November 9, 2018

Khory Alfarizi, Joniansyah, Jakarta – Teenagers in Jakarta and Central Java are getting high from drinking water that had been used to boil menstrual pads.

The National Narcotics Agency's Central Java (BNNP) found more cases in Grobogan, Kudus, Pati, Rembang, and Semarang. In Jakarta, the case happened in Bekasi and Karawang.

This new method of getting high was first discovered in February in Lemahabang, Tempuran and Telagasari, Karawang.

Sitty Hikmawatty, a member of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) in the field of health and narcotics, pripotropic, addictive substances (NAFZA), said the number of teenagers doing this to get high is increasing.

"In 2017, there were only a few. Nowadays more and more of them are doing it. This is very disturbing," Sitty told Tempo on Friday, November 9. She did not mention the exact number and where the information is from.

A chemical researcher at Bandung's Institute of Technology, Yessi Permana, said that products such as sanitary napkins, diapers and sweat absorbers contain superabsorbent polymers (SAP) which are irritants to the eyes. One type of polymer that is often used for such products is sodium polyacrylate.

"As listed on the material safety data sheet (MSDS), that content irritates the eye because it has absorbent qualities. It should be prevented from entering the body," Yessi said.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/09/055923296/Teenagers-in-Java-Getting-High-on-Sanitary-Pads

Islamic 'vaccine fatwa' triggers plunging vaccination rates in Indonesia

Breitbart - November 8, 2018

Millions of children in Indonesia are missing out on crucial vaccines because of a "vaccine fatwa" imposed by powerful Islamic clerics, Science Magazine reported on Thursday.

In August, Indonesia's leading Islamic body issued a religious decree, otherwise known as a fatwa, declaring the Rubella-Measles vaccine as haram because pig cells are used in its manufacturing.

Vaccination rates have plummeted significantly since the ruling was imposed in August, causing alarm among public health officials concerned that the world's largest Muslim-majority country could see a rise of measles and miscarriages and health defects caused from rubella infections during pregnancy.

Indonesia has until recently used a locally produced measles vaccine that helped reduce infection rates, having previously had some of the highest measles burdens worldwide. Just last year, the country's Ministry of Health launched a large-scale vaccination ambitious catchup campaign targeting 67 million children aged between nine months to 15 years.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), the first phase of the campaign was successful, with officials reaching 95 percent coverage as measles and rubella cases fell by over 90 percent.

Yet the plan ran into difficulty in August after the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) determined the vaccine as "haram," despite lobbying efforts from the Health Ministry to declare it halal. The MUI eventually issued a fatwa allowing Muslims to use the vaccine until it is replaced by a halal alternative, but many patients chose not to receive the vaccines in the interim.

"First, there is a condition of necessity (sharia emergency), second a halal and holy MR vaccine has yet to be made," the MUI said at the time. "Third, competent and trusted experts have explained the dangers posed by not being immunized due to the lack of a halal vaccine... The government has to use religious considerations as guidelines in immunization and medical treatment."

However, the controversy has caused a major fall in rates of vaccination, with millions of families now choosing to abstain from the vaccine due to their religious concerns.

Despite being a non-governmental organization, the MUI receives funding and support from the government of Indonesia, which is based on Islamic theocracy. It oversees all of Indonesia's mosques and Muslim organizations, with the power to issue halal certifications and even regulate Islamic banking.

President Jokowo Widodo, who is running for re-election next April, recently chose MUI leader Ma'ruf Amin as his running mate, causing concern among who human rights campaigners claim that Amin is a religious extremist who preaches discrimination against homosexuals and the enforcement of blasphemy laws.

Source: https://www.breitbart.com/asia/2018/11/08/islamic-vaccine-fatwa-triggers-plunging-vaccination-rates-in-indonesia/

'Long way to go' to improve education in Indonesia, finance minister

Jakarta Globe - November 8, 2018

Sheany, Nusa Dua – Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said Indonesia still had a long way to go to improve its education system, adding that programs designed and implemented by local governments were key to improving the quality and standard.

She said Indonesian students often lack critical thinking skills and empathy and that the country must therefore tweak its education system to nurture these values.

"We recognize that there is still a long way to go for Indonesia to improve the quality of education," Sri Mulyani said at the inaugural World Conference on Creative Economy in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Wednesday.

The country has been allocating 20 percent of its annual state budget to education, while the average Indonesian student is expected to spend at least 12.3 years in school – above the global average.

But according to the World Bank's Human Capital Index published last month, the quality of learning most Indonesian children receive is only equivalent to 7.9 years in school.

The government plans to spend Rp 490 trillion ($33 billion) on education, research and development, and innovation in formal education and vocational training next year, which would be 10 percent more than this year.

The minister said it has become more pressing for Indonesia to ensure that the funds allocated to training and the development of valuable skills are well spent, if the country hopes to benefit from the creative economy and foster growth.

She noted that local governments, which are responsible for the implementation of education programs and policies, must improve their capacity to achieve this goal.

"It's a problem of how we can use this resource in the most effective and also most efficient way, to achieve the best result," Sri Mulyani said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/long-way-to-go-to-improve-education-in-indonesia-finance-minister-says/

Tertiary education & campus life

Prevent infiltration of radicalism in universities' mosques: VP

Tempo - November 11, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – Vice President Jusuf Kalla urged academic community members of universities across Indonesia to prevent the spread of religious radicalism at mosques in their campuses. He reiterated that it was not in line with Indonesia's moderate Islam.

Speaking at an event of the Association of Indonesian University Mosques here on Saturday, Kalla affirmed that students or lecturers could become fanatic or enthusiastic regarding their religious beliefs.

However, their fanaticism should not veer to religious radicalism, which is then proliferated among members of academic communities at mosques within their respective universities, he noted.

"Islam in Indonesia is expected to remain moderate. Do not let mosques in our university campuses be infiltrated by those spreading religious radicalism," Kalla remarked, adding that being a fanatic is not similar to being a radicalist.

According to Kalla, a fanatic is a person keen on implementing the sharia. Instead, a radicalist is the one who has crossed the "Wasathiyah," or line of moderation. "Sometimes, it will be more destructive, if we are radicalists," he noted.

Hence, Kalla, who is also head of the Indonesian Mosque Council, called on those in charge of managing the mosques in universities to remain on alert and remind their colleagues of the dangers of the seeds of religious radicalism.

Religious radicalism is not in line with Indonesia's moderate Islam, he emphasized. "It is okay if you want to be bearded or wear trousers below the ankles. It does not matter as long as they do not adopt religious radicalism for misaligned interests. This must also be taken care of, so as to not cause problems," Kalla stated.

Indonesia has at least 4,586 higher educational institutions spread across the country. All universities and colleges generally have at least one mosque to help its academic community members offer their obligatory prayers.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/11/055923337/Prevent-Infiltration-of-Radicalism-in-Universities-Mosques-VP

Age & disability rights

Disability activists protest Ma'ruf Amin over negative use of the words

Coconuts Jakarta - November 14, 2018

As both the head of the influential Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and the running mate of President Joko Widodo in the 2019 election, Ma'ruf Amin is one of the most powerful people in Indonesia and there are not many who would directly criticize him for fear of disrespecting the revered religious figure or offending his many followers.

But today, a group of nine people stood outside of MUI's office in Jakarta to voice their protest against Ma'ruf or, more accurately, the words he had used.

The small group consisted of members of Indonesian Blindness Social Action Association (Pasti) who were protesting over a speech Ma'ruf had given on Saturday to campaign supporters in which he called those who always criticized President Joko Widodo's work as budek (deaf) and buta (blind).

"Through this moral movement, we are demanding KH Ma'ruf Amin to clarify and apologize to the disabled, especially blind and deaf people," said Pasti Chairman Arif Nur Jamal today as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Shortly after the speech, a few other disabled activists called Ma'ruf out for his derogatory use of the words, which then led to Ma'ruf clarifying and saying he had meant no offense to them.

"I am not talking about blind in a (physical) context. I am just saying, those who do not recognize it are like blind people because they do not want to see. I think those people are bad because they do not want to hear. Like a mute person who does not want to reveal the truth. That's all. There are also sentences that sound like that in the Quran. Just look at the Quran if you don't believe it," Ma'ruf told the media on Tuesday.

In spite of that clarification, Arif said his fellow activists still felt offended and humiliated by Ma'ruf's words. Another protester, Yogi Matsoni, said that Ma'ruf justifying his words using the Quran was too much.

"This is a moral movement, not just directed at Ma'ruf Amin but to everybody, campaigning has limits including not offending the disabled," Yogi said.

The demonstrators gave Ma'ruf eight days to apologize and said that if he did not do so they could organize follow-up protests or take legal action.

While Ma'ruf probably didn't mean any offense to the disabled with his remarks, he should at least respect that that was the effect his words had on them and, as a respected and influential figure, consider whether it's worth apologizing for that reason.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/vp-candidate-maruf-protested-disabled-activist-group-negative-use-words-deaf-blind/

LGBT & same-sex marriage

University student 'pseudo poll': LGBT behavior caused by keeping wrong

Jakarta Post - November 13, 2018

Karina M. Tehusijarana, Jakarta – The student body of Andalas University in Padang, West Sumatra, has released the results of a survey about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, claiming that so-called "LGBT behavior" is caused by "keeping the wrong company" and that it is "contagious" and could lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS.

The survey, conducted from Feb. 28 to Mar. 13, asked respondents various questions about "LGBT behavior", with the results posted on the student body's website last week. The student body did not immediately respond to The Jakarta Post's queries about sample size and the methodology of the survey.

When contacted, Andalas University dean Tafdil Husni and vice dean Hermansah both said they were unaware of the survey.

Around 38.7 percent of respondents said that "LGBT behavior" was caused by "keeping the wrong company", while 30.2 percent said it was the result of a "lack of religious knowledge". An overwhelming 81.8 percent believed that "LGBT behavior" was contagious and 93.7 percent said that it could be cured.

The survey concluded, among other things, that "LGBT behavior" in Andalas University could be eradicated by instituting anti-LGBT regulations.

University of Indonesia communications lecturer and research methods expert Eriyanto said that the survey could be categorized as a "pseudo poll" that "looks as if it is scientific but is actually not".

"The survey uses leading questions, which results in answers that reflect the questions," he told the Post on Monday. "The poll makers also clearly have a frame that is reflected in the questions and respondents are herded to agree with what the researcher wants."

He added that the poll's conclusions did not follow from its results. "For example, one of the conclusions is that 'LGBT behavior is contagious and can spread HIV/AIDS,'" he said.

"It should be made clear that this is only the opinion or perception of the respondents, because 'LGBT behavior is contagious' and 'respondents believe that LGBT behavior is contagious' are two very different things."

University of Indonesia sexuality and gender expert Irwan Hidayana said that the results of the survey reflected misconceptions that the public had about the LGBT community.

"Research, both in Indonesia and overseas, shows that sexual orientation, whether homosexuality, bisexuality, or heterosexuality, is affected by several factors including biological, psychological and social influences. So you cannot conclude that there is a single 'cause'," he said.

He added that while homosexuality had previously been categorized as a mental disorder, more recent research had resulted in its removal from the World Health Organization's (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) lists of mental disorders.

West Sumatra is considered one of the most religiously conservative provinces in Indonesia and Andalas University has a history of anti-LGBT policies. Last year, the state university required prospective students who had passed its admission test to fill out and sign a form declaring that they were not openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

While the requirement was eventually removed from the university's website, the university has since held at least one "character development" talk about the "dangers" of homosexuality in February 2018. (swd)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/university-student-pseudo-poll-lgbt-behavior-caused-by-keeping-wrong-company.html

Thousands protest LGBTI community in Bogor, Indonesia

Gay Star News - November 12, 2018

Rik Glauert – Thousands of anti-LGBTI protesters marched on the Mayor's Office in Bogor, Indonesia on Friday (9 November). The rally, organized by Muslim groups, pressured Bogor's mayor to ban LGBTI people from the city on Java island.

Chairman of the Anti-LGBT Bogor Community Forum, Abdul Halim, said the rally was held due to 'rampant' activities by the city's LGBTI population, according to Tempo.co.

'LGBT is very contagious and dangerous for the nation's generations',' he said, according to the news website. 'It can even cause dangerous and contagious diseases, such as HIV and AIDS.'

'The community must play an active role in refusing them and not giving them any space to keep them from growing,' he also reportedly said. A Facebook post appearing to show the protest (below), says 'Bogor rejects LGBT'.

Fresh wave of hatred

Indonesia's LGBTI community is facing a fresh wave of intimidation and arrests, Human Rights Watch warned recently.

The rights groups said it had reviewed anti-LGBTI policy proposals throughout October in West Java. It is the latest wave of anti-LGBT actions in the Muslim-majority country. Potential policies include forming official lists of allegedly LGBTI individuals, according to HRW.

Officials also proposed teaching falsehoods about LGBTI people in schools. And subjecting LGBTI people to 'conversion therapy' to alter sexual orientation or gender identity. They also proposed censoring LGBTI-related speech to counter the 'LGBTI threat'.

Gay sex is not illegal in Indonesia. But, since early 2016, 'government-driven moral panic' over the LGBTI community has engulfed the nation, according to HRW.

In the last three years, government officials have called for criminalizing gay sex and censoring LGBTI content in the media. They have also suggested 'curing' LGBTI individuals.

What's more, police have raided saunas, nightclubs, hotels, and private homes. In 2017, Indonesia charged more than 300 LGBTI people under the country's vague 'pornography' laws.

Source: https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/thousands-protest-lgbti-community-in-bogor-indonesia/

Thousands join anti-LGBT protest in Bogor, mayor agrees to more

Coconuts Jakarta - November 12, 2018

Last Friday saw yet another mass demonstration by anti-LGBT protesters in Indonesia, this time taking place in the West Java city of Bogor just outside of Jakarta.

It echoed another protest that took place the previous Sunday in the West Sumatran City of Payakumbuh as both involved thousands of participants and were followed by promises from officials to enact more discriminatory legislation against the vilified minority group.

Despite the pouring rain, a crowd reportedly consisting of thousands of demonstrators – mainly from Muslim civil society organizations such as the hardline Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) – marched from Bogor's Grand Mosque to Bogor City Hall on Friday afternoon under the collective banner of the Bogor Anti-LGBT Community Forum.

The forum's chairman, Abdul Halim, described being LGBT as "very contagious" and dangerous because it could cause diseases such as HIV/AIDS.

As reported by Tempo, Abdul said that LGBT people now have more courage to be open about themselves because "they take refuge behind human rights". "The community must play an active role in refusing them and not giving them any space to keep them from growing," Abdul said.

Contrary to those assertions, human rights organizations report that LGBT Indonesians are more afraid than ever due to country's increasingly hysterical moral panic about gay rights and state-sponsored acts of discrimination, forcing them underground and out of the reach of medical outreach programs, which is actually exacerbating Indonesia's HIV/AIDS problems.

At any rate, the anti-LGBT protesters delivered a number of demands to officials at City Hall. As detailed in the statement below, which was posted to the official Bogor Government Facebook page, the protesters demanded that officials reject LGBT actions and behavior of all kinds and create regulations to prohibit LGBT activities such as the closure of social media sites and mobile applications.

Bogor Mayor Bima Arya then received 25 representatives from the protest to discuss their demands along with other senior officials including the chief of police.

Bima said he agreed to a number of the protesters' demands and would followed up immediately at the local level by drafting regulations as well as voicing their demands at the national level by bringing the matter up with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.

Although he did not provide specific details on what sort of anti-LGBT regulations he planned on passing, the crowd cheered when he delivered his vague promises of action to them.

As with all of the other local governments that have promised to pass anti-LGBT regulations in their districts, the question remains whether such regulations could exist without contravening national law since homosexuality is not a crime in Indonesia (except in North Sumatra's Aceh, the only region of Indonesia with special autonomy to enact explicitly sharia-based law).

In many parts of the country, authorities have to take extra-legal action to harass and assault LGBT individuals on biased grounds such as "maintaining public order" (as happened in the case of 10 "suspected lesbians" who were recently detained by police in the Padang).

However, the Ministry of Justice lost the authority to revoke regional laws that contradicted national law, meaning that any regional anti-LGBT law would likely have to be challenged in the Supreme Court to be overturned.

Although efforts by conservative parties to criminalize LGBT behavior at the national level stalled out earlier this year, senior political figures such as Deputy House Speaker Hidayat Nur Wahid from the Islam-based PKS party continue to push for the discriminatory legislation.

Human Rights Watch recently released a report highlighting a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in Indonesia. In addition to vigilante acts, it has also taken the form of state-sponsored persecution involving a number of anti-LGBT statements and policies made by government officials in the last few weeks. Amnesty International also released a report last week saying that the country's crackdowns on the LGBT community have "hit alarming level".

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/thousands-join-anti-lgbt-protest-bogor-mayor-agrees-demands-discriminatory-legislation/

Anti-LGBT sentiment rises ahead of elections

Jakarta Post - November 12, 2018

Nurul Fitri Ramadhani, Jakarta – Several regional authorities are planning to create regulations designed to further curtail the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community – minority group frequently used as political fodder during election season.

Payakumbuh, the second-largest city in West Sumatra, is set to revise a 2016 bylaw on social ills to introduce several articles specifically banning LGBT activities to prevent the "deviant behavior" from spreading.

"The Payakumbuh administration's intention to include provisions regarding the LGBT community in the planned revision of the 2016 bylaw on social ills is feasible," Payakumbuh Legislative Council Speaker Yendri Bodra of the Golkar Party said last week as quoted by Antara.

West Sumatra is known as one of the most religiously conservative provinces in the country that have been gripped by anti-LGBT hysteria.

West Sumatra Deputy Governor Nasrul Abit from the Gerindra Party has called on villages in the province to enact a nagari (village) regulation to impose sanctions against the LGBT community, including parading them or forcing them to pay a hefty fine.

In East Kotawaringin regency, Central Kalimantan, the local government and legislators have agreed to draft a bylaw to restrict LGBT activities.

The draft bylaw was initiated by the local legislative council based on the belief that LGBT people have detrimental impact on society. They expect to begin deliberations and pass the draft bylaw next year.

East Kotawaringin Regent Supian Hadi said he welcomed the initiative. "I thank the council for this. I hope the plan can materialize as soon as possible because [the rise of LGBT activities] is alarming," he said as quoted by Antara.

The regent said he believed homosexuality was an "infectious disease and against religious norms". In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association concluded that homosexuality was neither a mental disorder nor a sickness.

Some regional administrations have refrained from enacting a formal law and chose a softer policy by issuing a circular encouraging the public to fight homosexuality.

The administration of Cianjur regency in West Java, for example, has issued a circular encouraging preachers across the regency to send anti-LGBT messages in their sermons during Friday prayers.

The circular, issued on Oct. 15, reportedly aims at minimizing so-called LGBT behavior and prevent HIV infections. Only days after it was issued, the West Java Police arrested a gay couple for allegedly managing a Facebook page for the gay community in Bandung, West Java.

The couple has been charged with violating indecency articles in the 2016 Electronic Information and Transaction Law.

GAYa Nusantara, the country's oldest LGBT advocacy group, said it was common for anti-LGBT sentiments to rise during election season. However, no political parties are willing protect the community, the group's founder Dede Oetomo told The Jakarta Post recently.

"Regional heads just follow the trend of other regions that have issued similar [anti-LGBT] bylaws. There is an organized effort from Islamist groups [to criminalize the LGBT community]. And the central government will never dare take action. The police back the regional heads," Dede said.

"I don't think political parties will dare to speak up about protecting LGBT people; even the leading nationalist party, PDI-P," he said, referring to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle.

Observers argue that nationalist parties have even tried to outdo the Islamist parties in demonizing the LGBT community to gain votes.

Constitutional law expert Feri Amsar believed that politics was behind the recent attempt to enact discriminatory regulations. He said regional administrations had the authority to enact bylaws, but it was not a license to discriminate against minority groups.

"They must guarantee that the bylaws do not violate the Constitution or human rights."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/anti-lgbt-sentiment-rises-ahead-of-elections.html

Islamic studies researcher argues there's space for LGBT people within

VOA Indonesia - November 11, 2018

Protests against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups have taken place in a number of parts of the country. Why is it difficult for society to accept the presence of the LGBT community in a more intelligent way?

Islamic studies researcher Abdul Muiz Ghazali says that Indonesians, the majority of which are Islamic, have long been familiar with the presence of LGBT people. According to Ghazali there is in fact space within Islam to understand gender diversity.

But this has changed since 2017 when opposition began against the LGBT community driven apparently by certain political forces.

"Within Islam there are also terms which speak about the issue of sexual orientation. For example, 'irbah minar rijal', men who do not have a sexual desire for women. Then there is the term 'mukhannath' meaning men who appear to be women", Ghazali explained when contacted by VOA.

"The current opposition to LGBT is not in truth purely coming from Islam but more from political issues. So the LGBT issue is being manipulated in such a way for political goals which in essence are not really related to religious issues", Ghazali added.

The lecturer and researcher at the Fahmina Islamic Studies Institute (ISIF) in Cirebon, West Java, is asking the public to be more astute in its attitudes towards the LGBT community.

He believes that the ulama [Islamic leaders] should understand the LGBT community from a scientific perspective and the historical and social context in their interpretation of passages in the holy book related to LGBT.

"Don't be too reactive. Because the Prophet Muhammad taught against being reactive, always teaching deliberation and education. There's been no education yet so how come suddenly there's punishment? Because before punishing we must understand the substance of what is being punished", he explained.

Two demonstrations opposing LGBT took place in Payakumbuh, West Sumatra, on Monday November 5 and in Bogor, West Java, on Friday November 9. During the actions, ormas (social or mass organisations) called on their respective regional governments to issue bylaws which in essence would ban LGBT people. Separately, the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in two regions declared they were drafting such a regulation. Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH Masyarakat) public defender Naila Rizqi Zakiah says that regulations such as this are not in accord with the 1945 Constitution (UUD 1945) which protects all citizens. Because of this, she says that the government must stand firmly on the side of the constitution.

"In so far as the public's wishes are in accord with the UUD there isn't a problem. But if the UUD adheres to the principle of non-discrimination, then the state must comply with the UUD and not with the wishes of the public. We need to study these wishes more deeply. Did these wishes emerge from an awareness of human rights or did they in fact emerge from the politics of hate which are promoted by the [political] elite and certain groups, right", she said in conclusion.

Zakiah added that discriminatory regulations will increase violence against the LGBT community.

In its 2017 report, LBH Masyarakat recorded that there were 45 cases of human rights violations and violence against LGBT people. Hate speech was the most common with 15 cases followed by criminalisation with 12 cases.

The foundation also recorded that there were 106 perpetrators of stigmatisation, discrimination and violence against LGBT people in 2017. The majority were committed by ormas with 29 cases and law enforcement officials with 25 cases.

Zakiah is calling on the public to respect the rights of LGBT people as citizens even if they don't agree with their presence. This must also be pushed by the government which needs to behave justly towards minority sexual groups.

"The state must be smart. [Understand] that the constitution does not allow for discrimination. If you want to say that LGBT people are sodomists, sinful or whatever, LGBT people are Indonesian citizens. They (law enforcement officials) must also be loyal to the constitution", Zakiah explained.

"Professionals are loyal to science, the state and law enforcement officials must be loyal to the constitution. Now, that is what isn't happening at the moment", she explained. (rt/em)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Pengamat Nilai Indonesia Punya Ruang Bagi LGBT".]

Source: https://www.voaindonesia.com/a/pengamat-nilai-indonesia-punya-ruang-bagi-lgbt/4653486.html

Thousands stage protest against LGBT at Bogor mayor's office

Tempo - November 9, 2018

Muhammad Sidik Permana, Jakarta – Thousands of Muslims from various organizations in Bogor city staged a protest rally against the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community on Friday, November 9. The protesters demanded the Bogor administration issue a regulation to bar the existence of the LGBT community in the city.

"Until now, in Bogor city or any other city, there is no regional administration that has a regional regulation that bans LGBT," said the chairman of the Anti-LGBT Bogor Community Forum, Abdul Halim.

The protesters began the rally with a long march from Jl. Raya Tajur to the city's center. After Friday prayers, they surrounded the Bogor Mayor's office on Jl. Ir H. Djuanda and made speeches.

Abdul Halim said this rally was held as a form of concern over the rampant activities of the LGBT community in the city. "LGBT is very contagious and dangerous for the nation's generations, it can even cause dangerous and contagious diseases, such as HIV and AIDS," he said.

According to Abdul, LGBT people now have the courage to appear as they take refuge behind human rights. "The community must play an active role in refusing them and not giving them any space to keep them from growing," he said.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/09/057923313/Thousands-Stage-Protest-against-LGBT-at-Bogor-Mayors-Office

Islamic protesters in Bogor demand local government draft anti-LGBT by

Kompas.com - November 9, 2018

Ramdhan Triyadi Bempah, Bogor – Protesters from a number of [Islamic] organisations held a protest action on Friday November 9 on the grounds of the Bogor City Hall in West Java demonstrating their opposition to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Under a heavy downpour, the protesters continued to give speeches and hold up flags and banners with messages rejecting LGBT. Before arriving at the Bogor City Hall, the protesters held a long march from the Amalliyah Mosque in Ciawi.

Bogor Anti-LGBT Social Forum chairperson Abdul Halim said that the action was held as a response to the proliferation of LGBT people in Bogor.

"This action is to remind all parties about the dangers of LGBT. In addition to this, our action is being held to express our concern about the dangers of LGBT in accordance the findings of the National Aids Commission that the highest rate in the spread of AIDS is in Bogor city because of LGBT", said Halim.

Halim said that the target of the peaceful action was the birth of a regulation prohibiting LGBT people in Bogor.

"We are calling on the government to issue a kind of anti-LGBT SK [decree] or Perda [by-law] so with such a legal umbrella [our] hope is that it can firmly prohibit LGBT activities in Bogor", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Massa Unjuk Rasa di Balai Kota Bogor Tuntut Penerbitan Perda Anti-LGBT".]

Source: https://regional.kompas.com/read/2018/11/09/15541891/massa-unjuk-rasa-di-balai-kota-bogor-tuntut-penerbitan-perda-anti-lgbt

Despite 'proliferation' claim, anti-LGBT protesters in Bogor admit they

CNN Indonesia - November 9, 2018

Bogor – A protest action opposing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) in Bogor has called on the municipal government to issue a by-law regulating the LGBT community. The protesters however, concede that they do not have accurate data on LGBT people in Bogor.

The leader of the action and chairperson of the Bogor Anti-LGBT Social Forum, Ustaz [Islamic teacher] Abdul Halim admitted that he does not have exact data on the number of LGBT in Bogor city.

"I don't have any data, right now at this action I don't have any data", said Halim following the protest at the Bogor City Hall in West Java on Friday November 9.

But, he said, based on data that he obtained from the Bogor City AIDS Commission, the high rate of the spread of AIDS is because of gay, transgender and bisexual couples.

"There is a commission on AIDS in Bogor City and they are part of our forum so earlier they gave a presentation", he said.

In relation to the data on the LGBT community meanwhile, Bogor Mayor Bima Arya conceded that the number of LGBT people in the city was the same as in other cities. Unfortunately, Arya was also unable to cite an exact figure.

"All of the cities are pretty much the same, it's just that Bogor is more concerned about it. It's the same as in other cities", said Arya when asked about data on LGBT people in Bogor.

According to CNN Indonesia's observations, the thousands of protesters shouted their demands in front of the Bogor City Hall.

"Let us together urge the Bogor city to draft a Bogor city anti-LGBT raperda [draft by-law]", said Al Mubarok from the Islamic Anshorut Syariah Forum, speaking from atop the command vehicle on Friday November 9. "Allahu Akbar [God is Great]", screamed the protesters.

The demonstrators outside the City Hall continued to shout "God is Great" while they held up flags bearing the tauhid [Islamic creed]. The protest became even more dramatic as rain began pouring down on the Bogor City Hall complex.

But despite the downpour, the action continued with the shouts of God is great becoming even louder.

"We pray that this rain will be a rain of a blessing for God who is great", shouted another speaker from the command vehicle. "Allahuakbar [God is Great]", screamed the protesters as they waved the tauhid flags.

A number of representatives from the anti-LGBT protesters were able to hold a discussion with the municipal government, Polres (district police) and the Bogor City Regional House of Representatives (DPRD).

During the discussion, the Bogor government agreed to eradicate LGBT in the city. Arya said that three agreements were reached between the protesters and the government.

First, that the regional government along with all elements of society, ranging from ulama [Islamic leaders] to religious and social figures, have agreed to eradicate deviant sexual behaviour, online prostitution and kemaksiatan (sin and wickedness).

"Second, we agreed to cooperate with the DPRD in drafting a clear, firm and strong regulation so that LGBT kemaksiatan can be eradicated down to its roots", said Arya.

This regulation, said Arya, will be included in a Bogor City Regional Regulation on Family Resilience which is currently being drafted by his group in cooperation with the Bogor DPRD.

The third point, he continued, is calling on the Ministry of Information and Communication to close down all social media sites and applications which provide space for online prostitution.

"I am instructing [all] sub-district heads, village heads and government office heads to monitor apartments, boarding houses and restaurants so that no kemaksiatan takes place there", he said.

Arya also expressed his thanks to the demonstrators for showing their concern for Bogor City. "God willing [Bogor] will become a pasture of good deeds, may we hope that Allah will unify our thoughts, intentions and behaviour", said Arya.

After the statement was issued by Arya, the protesters disbanded with demonstrators starting to leave the area at around 3.30pm.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Tuntut Perda Anti-LGBT, Pimpinan Aksi Akui Tak Pegang Data".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181109171722-20-345322/tuntut-perda-anti-lgbt-pimpinan-aksi-akui-tak-pegang-data

Indonesian police harass transgender women

Human Rights Watch Dispatches - November 8, 2018

Andreas Harsono – Police in Indonesia's Lampung province were caught on video arresting and humiliating three transgender women, known as waria, the latest incident of rising state-sanctioned violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Indonesia.

On November 2, municipal police conducted an anti-LGBT raid on the beach in Labuhan Jukung, Lampung on the island of Sumatra and arrested three warias: Robiansyah, Yogi Pranata and Julius. The officers brought them to the local government building where they were given "Islamic guidance" and then hosed down outdoors from a fire truck. The officials reported in a WhatsApp message that it was a form of mandi wajib – an Islamic bathing ritual to cleanse oneself after sexual intercourse.

Human Rights Watch has documented numerous cases of intimidation, humiliation, and arbitrary arrest of LGBT people ever since Aceh, the only province that officially imposes Sharia, began in October 2015 to enforce their Islamic criminal code, which criminalizes same-sex relations. The anti-LGBT campaign intensified nationally in early 2016 when top government officials issued anti-LGBT statements. Now more local governments, such as in West Java, are drafting ordinances to criminalize same-sex relations.

On October 31, municipal police in West Sumatra arrested 10 women suspected of being lesbians after a police trawl of Facebook found photos of two of them kissing and hugging. Such discriminatory anti-LGBT actions will doubtlessly escalate unless the authorities act against the police responsible.

The group Forum Waria in Jakarta estimates at least 4,500 new warias came to Jakarta over the last three years, some of whom are displaced due to growing hostility against them in their home provinces. The newcomers are typically jobless, some having lost hair salons and other small businesses back home. Safe places to organize HIV counseling and treatment for LGBT people are also disappearing, heightening concerns among health workers about combating Indonesia's spike in HIV among men who have sex with men.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Home Affairs Minister Tjahjo Kumolo and provincial governors have a responsibility to speak out in support of the threatened LGBT community and defuse the "moral panic" underlying much of the violence and discrimination. When local authorities, like the municipal police in Lampung, fail to protect the rights of these minorities, Indonesia's leaders need to step in and hold them to account.

Source: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/08/indonesian-police-harass-transgender-women

Central Kalimantan regency drafting bylaw to outlaw LGBT community

Antara - November 8, 2018

Kasriadi/Norjani, Sampit – The East Kotawaringin (Kotim) regency Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) in Central Kalimantan is drafting a regulation on prohibiting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) which is hoped will attract support and be a priority.

"I very much support and respond to this. Thank you to our colleagues in the DPRD. I hope it will soon be realised because there is concern about this. If possible, it should be prioritised so that it will quickly become a regional regulation", said Kotim Regent Supian Hadi in Sampit on Thursday.

Hadi agrees with the DPRD that the presence of LGBT people in the region is a public threat because their lifestyle violates regulations and there is concern that they will have a bad impact on society.

He said that many people have expressed a desire for a regulation or prohibition on LGBT in the mass and social media.

"I am appreciative of the DPRD because they are addressing this wish and have submitted a draft regional regulation on prohibiting LGBT for deliberation to become a regional regulation in 2019", said Hadi.

Hadi said that the Kotim public rejects the presence of the LGBT people and a regulation is needed to provide a legal basis so that LGBT groups do not emerge in the regency.

Although there are LGBT people in Kotim, it is not known how many members of the community there are who practice this deviant behavior.

"This isn't just related to them being prone to spreading decease, but it also violates religious norms. This must be prevented so that it does not create disquiet in society", said Hadi.

The Kotim DPRD Regional Regulation Drafting Board (Bapemperda) is planning 21 new draft regional regulations (raperda) which will be deliberation in 2019, one of which is the prohibition on LGBT.

Bapemperda head Dadang H Syamsu said that the 21 new regulations are made up of eight draft regulations initiated by the DPRD and 13 other draft regulations proposed by the Kotim regency executive.

"Our task is to deliberate the 21 raperda and this must be completed in 2019", he added.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "DPRD Kotim diminta prioritaskan Perda larangan LGBT".]

Source: https://www.antaranews.com/berita/766196/dprd-kotim-diminta-prioritaskan-perda-larangan-lgbt

New survey finds sharp drop in influence of fugitive FPI leader Rizieq

CNN Indonesia - November 14, 2018

Jakarta – The latest survey by polling company LSI Denny JA titled "Religious Leaders and their Electoral Effect" has found that the influence of Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) "Great Leader" Rizieq Shihab has declined significantly as a result of his long stay in Saudi Arabia.

"Since he has been in Saudi Arabia for such a long time and the image created by his involvement in legal cases, the influence of Habib Rizieq Shihab has declined significantly", said researcher Ikrama Masloman at the LSI Denny JA offices in East Jakarta on Wednesday November 14.

The survey results wer divided into three segments in order to view Rizieq Shihab's influence in the eyes of the public. The three segments were the level of identification, how much he is liked and to what degree his appeals are followed.

In the segment on the level of identification, the number of respondents who said they knew who Shihab was rose from 48.7 percent in December 2016 to 53.4 percent in October 2018.

In the segment on how much he is liked, the number of respondents who like Shihab declined from 67.3 percent in 2016 to 52.9 percent in October 2018.

In the segment on following his appeals, the size of the group which follows Shihab's appeals has declined dramatically. In December 2016, those that followed Shihab's instructions or commands was as high as 31.4 percent. This declined to 17 percent in October 2018.

Although his prestige has declined, Shihab is still included in the five most important ulama [religious leaders] or influential religious leaders. He is now in fifth place.

The ulama whose appeals are most followed by the public is Ustaz [Islamic teacher] Abdul Somad with a score of 30.2 percent. The number of respondents who say they have listened to Somad is 59.3 percent and those that like him stood at 82.5 present.

Second place is held by Ustaz Arifin Ilham. The number of respondents that said they would follow his appeals was 25.9 percent with 41.2 percent saying they have listened to him and 84.4 percent saying they like him.

Ustaz Yusuf Mansur is in third position with 24.9 percent of respondents saying that they would follow his appeals, 57.2 percent saying they have listened to him and 84.9 percent saying they like Mansur.

In fourth place is Abdullah Gymnastiar or Aa Gym. As many as 23.5 percent or respondents said they would follow Aa Gym's appeals, 69.3 percent said they had listened to him and he is liked by 79.7 percent of respondents.

The LSI Denny JA survey was conducted between October 10-19 and polled 1,200 respondents in 34 provinces. Face-to-face interviews were used with a questionnaire given to respondents chosen through a multi-stage random sampling method.

"With a margin of error of around 2.8 percent. The survey was funded by LSI Denny JA itself", said Masloman. (bmw/wis)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "LSI Denny JA: Pengaruh Rizieq Turun Selama di Saudi".]


Responding to the survey, the FPI dismissed the results saying that the survey was "paid for", although the FPI's legal department head Sugito Atmo also admitted that Shihab's long absence and the numerous legal cases he is facing have indeed affected his influence. FPI attorney Munarman also claimed the survey was "paid" and "made to order", and that nobody listens to the LSI anyway, adding that Shihab wasn't interested in how his influence is rated in the polls and is only fighting for God Almighty's blessing [see https://news.detik.com/berita/4302113/fpi-jawab-lsi-soal-pengaruh-habib-rizieq-survei-bayaran-itu and https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4302450/survei-lsi-soal-pengaruh-hrs-fpi-biar-masyarakat-nilai-sendiri].

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181114143144-32-346505/lsi-denny-ja-pengaruh-rizieq-turun-selama-di-saudi?

Rizieq Shihab refutes embassy's claim on Saudi police questioning

Tempo - November 10, 2018

Budiarti Utami Putri, Syafiul Hadi, Jakarta – Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader Rizieq Shihab disputed the report released by the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Saudi Arabia after he was questioned by Saudi authorities several days ago.

"I remind the KBRI in Riyadh to not overdramatize the chronology or statements (regarding the police questioning)," said Rizieq Shihab on a Youtube live broadcast, Friday, Nov. 9.

The KBRI Riyadh previously announced Rizieq's arrest through a written statement. The announcement suggested that the FPI leader's house in Mecca was visited by Saudi police upon suspicion of Rizieq Shihab brandishing a black flag at the back of his house, which Saudi authorities deemed symbolizes Islamic extremist groups.

However, Rizieq Shihab questioned several elements contained in the Indonesian Embassy's version of the incident. He claimed that he was not arrested but merely asked to stay overnight since police investigation lasted through the night.

Rizieq said that the investigation continued in the following morning with a couple of questions, which he claims Saudi police concluded that he was merely a victim in the case. He also had an issue with the KBRI's announcement suggesting that Rizieq was released on bail.

"Many pieces of information issued by the KBRI do not corroborate with the reality," said the FPI leader.

The Indonesian Ambassador for Saudi Arabia Agus Maftuh Abegebriel previously said that the embassy continues to communicate with Saudi authorities to find the truth behind Rizieq Shihab's case and what he is being suspected of.

Agus stated that it is worrying if what Rizieq Shihab is accused of is linked to Rizieq poses a threat to the Saudi Arabian monarchy.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/10/055923320/Rizieq-Shihab-Refutes-Embassys-Claim-on-Saudi-Police-Questioning

Black flag case, PA 212: Scenario to slander Rizieq Shihab

Tempo - November 9, 2018

Friski Riana, Jakarta – The chairman of the 212 Alumni Brotherhood (PA), Slamet Maarif, said there was a big scenario behind the installment of a black flag at the house of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) leader, Rizieq Shihab, in Saudi Arabia.

"There is a big scenario to slander him," Slamet said at the Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security office in Jakarta on Friday, November 9.

Slamet said there were a number of irregularities relative to the disappearance of the CCTV in front of Rizieq's house. Then, the flag installed on the wall of the house bore the ISIS logo. "But strangely, the flag that went viral in Indonesia is a black Tawheed flag," he said.

He continud that other irregularities were those who took the picture of the flag and submitted it to the Indonesian Embassy in Saudi Arabia, then made it viral. "Habib Rizieq hasn't examined it yet but the news is already viral," he said.

According to Slamet, Rizieq had reported the alleged slander to the Saudi Arabian Police. He added this was because the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had been so kind to Rizieq, including providing protection and comfort to him. So, Slamet considered that the slander did not come from the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Slamet was reluctant to name the party he suspected of being the slanderer. "It's the right of the Saudi Arabia Police to investigate it. We'll wait," he said.

The arrest of Rizieq Shihab began when the Mecca Police came to his residence on November 5, at 8:00 a.m. local time. The police briefly searched Rizieq's residence following reports that a black flag with characteristics of an extremist movement had been installed on its wall. Later, the Saudi Arabian police released Rizieq Shihab.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/09/055923305/Black-Flag-Case-PA-212-Scenario-to-Slander-Rizieq-Shihab

BIN denies being behind Rizieq's 'extremist flag' questioning in Mecca

Jakarta Post - November 9, 2018

Jakarta – The State Intelligence Agency (BIN) is dismissing suggestions that it was responsible for getting firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab investigated by Saudi authorities over the alleged installation of an extremist Islamist flag at his house in Mecca.

"There is no evidence that BIN had installed the flag [at Rizieq's] house, let alone took the picture [of the flag] and reported it to Saudi police," BIN communications and information director Wawan Hari Purwanto said in a statement on Thursday.

Rizieq, the leader of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) who has been in self-exile in Saudi Arabia, was recently questioned by local security authorities over allegations that he was flying a black flag resembling that of extremist Islamic groups behind his house.

Wawan said the accusations that the Indonesian spy agency orchestrated the incident by installing the flag and reporting it to authorities were merely baseless rumors. "The accusation that claimed BIN had orchestrated [Rizieq's] arrest was a hoax," he said.

Rizieq was detained at a nearby police station for a questioning about the flag on Monday afternoon. The Indonesian consulate in Jeddah immediately provided him legal assistance and he was released on bail at about 8 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

The cleric is known to be one of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's staunchest critics and an ally of presidential contender Prabowo Subianto.

Wawan said the spy agency never had any problem with Rizieq's political position. "For BIN, there is no such thing as 'criminalization' because all Indonesian citizens are equal before the law."

Saudi Arabia has banned the installation of flags and other materials resembling those used by extremist groups, including the Islamic State (IS) group.

Rizieq has been in Saudi Arabia for more than a year. In September, the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh said the cleric had overstayed his visa in the country, according to a statement issued in response to complaints from his supporters who claimed that restrictions had been imposed on his activities in Mecca.

The FPI leader had been charged by Indonesian police with violating the 2008 Pornography Law in May 2017. By then Rizieq had fled to Saudi Arabia and refused to return to Indonesia, despite being summoned by police several times. The police dropped the case in June, citing a lack of evidence. (afr)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/bin-denies-being-behind-rizieqs-extremist-flag-questioning-in-mecca.html

Setara institute says Rizieq Shihab using flag incident to bolster

CNN Indonesia - November 9, 2018

Jakarta – The director of the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, Hendardi, believes that there is no basis for the claim by Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) "Great Leader" Rizieq Shihab that there was manipulation by Indonesia in the installation of an ISIS flag on his house.

Hendardi believes that Shihab is attempting to maintain his prestige in the eyes of his followers at home.

"Rizieq Shihab's accusations of manipulation by the Indonesian government in the case of the installation of flag [on his house] in Saudi Arabia has no basis and is just shows that he is trying to maintain himself as a figure who can be counted as part of the Indonesian political constellation", said Hendardi in a press release on Friday November 9.

Hendardi said Shihab is doing this so that his followers stay in line and that he is currently attempting to maintain his prestige as a leader. "In the end it is for practical political interests in the 2019 Pilpres [presidential elections]", said Hendardi

Hendardi also highlighted various challenges facing Shihab's followers saying that allegations by the followers of the FPI's "Great Leader" that Indonesian intelligence officials were behind the installation of the flag doesn't make any sense.

He assumes this because Saudi Arabia is a sovereign county and it is impossible there would be interference by another country. Because of this therefore, the accusation that intelligence operatives from Indonesia manipulated the incident is not rational.

According to Hendardi the allegation is nothing more than a fantasy. "And there is a strong suspicion that that it is being politicised as if he is a victim", said Hendardi.

Hendardi went on to suggest that the Indonesian government, particularly the National Intelligence Agency (BIN), not take the accusations too seriously.

Hendardi agreed that the Indonesian government is obliged to protect all Indonesian nationals overseas, including Shihab. But, he warned that Shihab is a fugitive on the run from various legal cases in Indonesia.

"Rizieq Shihab chose to avoid facing the law in his homeland, but is still trying to play politics in Indonesia, he is a person who as a consequence [of their actions] has often had to face the law in this country", said Hendardi.

Shihab was detained and questioned by local Saudi intelligence because of the black flag with the tauhid [the Islamic creed] on the wall of his house. He was released a short time later and has since asked local officials to search for the person who installed the flag.

FPI Leadership Board General Secretary Munarman has said that the installation of the flag was an Indonesian intelligence operation.

According to Munarman it was premeditated, namely the flag was put up, photographed and then the pictures disseminated in Indonesia. He also doubts the authenticity of photos depicting Shihab being question by local security personnel.

BIN, through its spokesperson Wawan Purwanto has stated that the agency does not consider Shihab an enemy of the state and because of this BIN insists that it has no link with the flag incident. (ugo)

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "SETARA Nilai Rizieq Ingin Diperhitungkan di Kancah Politik".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20181109182420-32-345358/setara-nilai-rizieq-ingin-diperhitungkan-di-kancah-politik

FPI leader Rizieq Shihab claims ISIS flag 'rotten Indonesian

Detik News - November 8, 2018

Ahmad Toriq, Jakarta – Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) "Great Leader" Habib Rizieq Shihab claims that a "rotten Indonesian intelligence operation" is the reason why he was arrested and questioned by Saudi Arabia intelligence.

"He (Habib Rizieq – Ed) said that the party which is strongly suspected of being the perpetrator is a 'rotten intelligence [operative] from Indonesia'", FPI spokesperson Munarman told journalists on Thursday November 8.

Munarman was speaking about the party that is suspected of putting up an ISIS flag on the wall of Shihab's residence in Mecca. Shihab was questioned by Saudi Arabian intelligence offices after there was a complaint about the flag on his house.

Munarman said that Saudi Arabia has asked Shihab to report the names of the Indonesian intelligence operatives who he suspects carried out the operation. The Saudis, he continued, took the matter seriously and are focusing on Shihab's report.

"Because it was a foreign intelligence operation within the legal jurisdiction of Saudi [Arabia] territory it represents a serious legal violation and the perpetrators must be sentenced to decapitation", said Munarman.

In relation to the suspicion that this was a rotten intelligence operation by Indonesia, Munarman also spoke about a "Pejaten field operative" (anggota lapangan Pejaten) that would leave Saudi Arabia today.

"[I received] special information that a Pejaten field operative will reportedly leave Saudi [Arabia] today", he said. (tor/fjp)


Munarman's use of the term "anggota lapangan Pejaten" or Pejaten field operative is a reference to the National Intelligence Agency (BIN) which has its headquarters in East Pejaten, South Jakarta.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the article was "Habib Rizieq Curiga Ada Operasi 'Intelijen Busuk dari Indonesia'".]

Source: https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4292521/habib-rizieq-curiga-ada-operasi-intelijen-busuk-dari-indonesia

Religion & politics

Bogor Police forbid Islamic caliphate gathering

Jakarta Post - November 13, 2018

Theresia Sufa, Bogor – The Bogor Police refused to give permission to an event that was meant to be held at the Az-Zikra Mosque in Bogor regency on Nov. 17, alleging that the event was related to the Islamic caliphate movement that aims to replace the country's political system.

Bogor Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Andi Mochamad Dicky said the gathering event was proposed by Khilafatul Muslimin of the Nur Syakirah Foundation and would use the theme: "Indonesia, the starting point for the rise of Islam in the world"."

"We suggest people not go to the event because it doesn't have legal permission. Should the organizer insist on carrying out the event, the police will disperse the crowd and stand guard to avoid conflict," he said.

Andi said the event is against the national ideology of Pancasila and the law of the nation. He claimed that long before the foundation representative asked for permission, the police investigated and questioned several people regarding the event.

He said he had asked the Az-Zikra Mosque management to not allow people from the Nur Syakirah Foundation to hold the event on Nov. 17. (vla)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/13/bogor-police-forbid-islamic-caliphate-gathering.html

VP Jusuf Kalla compares domestic mosques to Malaysia's

Tempo - November 10, 2018

Friski Riana, Jakarta – Vice President Jusuf Kalla compared sermons in Malaysian mosques to Indonesia. He highlighted Malaysia's mosques that tend to open a sermon by praying for the well-being of its King.

"There are no sermons here in Indonesia which pray for the president, however, there are sermons that criticize the president," said Jusuf Kalla during the national campus' mosques workshop in Jakarta today, November 10.

The vice president mentioned another stark difference between mosques in both countries. According to Jusuf Kalla, sermons in Malaysian mosques tend to be centralized and homogeneous since they are managed by the government.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the mosques are organized and built by the people and the local communities. Especially the ones located within campus environments that are led by professors.

VP Jusuf Kalla (JK) also acknowledged that the charity box normally seen in Indonesian mosques are rarely seen outside of Indonesia. This factor was seen by him as a means to measure a country's charitable trait.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/10/055923325/VP-Jusuf-Kalla-Compare-Domestic-Mosques-to-Malaysias

National holidays & celebrations

MPR chairman urges communities to emulate national heroes

Tempo - November 11, 2018

Jakarta (Antara) – People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) Chairman Zulkifli Hasan invited all sections of society to emulate and carry forward the struggle of the national heroes, who had fought selflessly for the independence of the Indonesian nation.

His statement was delivered while releasing a bouquet of flowers into the sea as part of the Heroes' Day commemoration procession held aboard the KRI Banda Aceh ship that sailed on Damar Besar Island, a group of Thousand Islands, Jakarta.

"Let us continue their struggle," MPR Chair Hasan noted in a press release in Jakarta on Saturday.

During the Heroes' Day commemoration, in which Hasan became a ceremonial inspector, various military units, police, youth organizations, scouts, high school students, community leaders, and families of heroes appeared solemn following the ceremony that began at 8 a.m. local time.

Hasan expressed gratitude that they were able to celebrate Heroes Day smoothly. He further elaborated that during their fight, the heroes never raised questions on religion, ethnicity, and origin. "All are united for an independent Indonesia," he emphasized.

He remarked that the nation's journey has been long, with Indonesia enjoying 72 years of independence and 20 years of reform. Admittedly, the nation had achieved significant progress, such as the existence of regional autonomy. "As servants of God, we must be grateful for such things," Hasan noted.

However, admittedly, several records still need further improvement. Hence, the former forestry minister has invited all to reflect on the struggles of heroes, who were sincere in their efforts and struggles.

Hasan said he had paid homage at the tomb of the first governor of East Java Suryo. As the regional head, Suryo chose independence or death while facing the Allied forces that landed in Surabaya and were about to re-colonize. Suryo serves as a guiding light to us all to emulate this courage to maintain independence.

Hasan further cited the example of the figure Agus Salim, who was recognized as the founder of Indonesia's diplomacy. Salim's quote "leading is a way of suffering and serving" should be emulated by all elements of the nation. "For all that, the heroes need to be remembered," he explained.

As chairperson of the MPR, he congratulated six leaders and their families that had been determined by the government as heroes this year. "Congratulations to the A.R. Baswedan Family, Kasman Singodimedjo, and other families, where loved ones have been designated as national heroes," he stated.

At the friendly event, he reminded that during the political year, the people may have different choices in the election, may also differ in terms of their choice of political parties, but all of them must be stated in the red and white. Hence, Hasan has invited all to become the pioneers of unity. "If we have short-term thoughts, there will be people, who are injured," he stated.

For him, democracy has become the choice of the nation. Elections are called ordinary and held every five years. "We are free to be united and sovereign. Now to unite is through the path of democracy and elections," he added.

The commemoration of Heroes' Day, routinely held aboard warships, this time is also marked by an expression of compassion to the families and historical heirs of the victims of the Battle of Aru.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/11/055923335/MPR-Chairman-Urges-Communities-to-Emulate-National-Heroes

Three killed while watching 'Surabaya Membara' performance

Jakarta Post - November 10, 2018

Gemma Holliani Cahya, Jakarta – Three people were killed and 20 others injured when a train passed a crowd of residents celebrating National Heroes Day in Surabaya, East Java, on Friday night.

The crowd had gathered on the edge of a railway bridge on Jl. Pahlawan at 8 p.m. to watch a theater performance titled Surabaya Membara (Surabaya Burning) near the Heroes Monument.

According to kompas.com, the scheduled train was passing over the bridge and sounded its horn having slowed down to 15 kilometers per hour from 30 kph after the train driver saw the group of people standing on the railway.

Some people reportedly lost balance as the train moved forward causing the bridge to vibrate, three of these fell 7 meters to the street below.

The Transportation Ministry's railway director general, Zulfikri, said the ministry will compensate the victims of the accident and expressed his condolences to the families who had lost their loved ones. However, he pointed out that railway bridges are not suitable places from which to view events.

"The [law] clearly states that unauthorized people are prohibited from accessing the tracks for any reason. The railway cannot be used carelessly because it involves the safety of train travel," he said in a press release on Saturday.

Surabaya is known as the City of Heroes, and the outdoor theater performance, which relives the historic Battle of Surabaya when the people fought to liberate their city from Dutch rule on Nov. 10 in 1945, is an annual affair that always draws large crowds in the city. (wit)

Actors perform Actors perform "Surabaya Membara", an annual theater show to commemorate the National Heroes Day in the East Java capital city, on Friday. (Antara/M. Risyal Hidayat)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/10/three-killed-while-watching-surabaya-membara-performance.html

Indigenous culture & rights

With forest rights, indigenous Indonesians stave off mining, palm oil

Thomson Reuters Foundation - November 13, 2018

Rina Chandran, Gajah Bertalut, Indonesia – In a community hall, a group of men sit cross-legged on mats, poring over documents and maps marked with forests, farmland, a river and the village of Gajah Bertalut in Indonesia's Sumatra island.

They are gathered to work on their claim to legal rights and a collective title to 4,414 hectares (17 square miles) of land on which they have lived and farmed for years.

"This is proof that you have lived here and used the forest land, and that you have customary rights over it as indigenous people," explained Rakhmat Hidayat of research organisation World Resources Institute (WRI), holding a sheaf of papers.

"Once you get the title, you will have more control over the land, and you need not worry about the land being taken for mining or palm oil plantations against your wishes," he said.

Gajah Bertalut in Riau province is among the first villages to have its land mapped by WRI as part of the government's drive to clarify land holdings using satellite technology and local records, with the help of community leaders and researchers.

Indonesia aims to register all land holdings under its One Map initiative by 2025.

Following a landmark 2013 ruling by the Constitutional Court to remove customary forests, or hutan adat, from state control and restore them to indigenous communities, President Joko Widodo has vowed to return 12.7 million hectares of land.

As of 2017, titles to 1.9 million hectares of forest land have been given, benefiting about 500,000 households, according to the ministry of environment and forestry.

But progress has been slow because of conflicting claims, a paucity of records and a multiplicity of maps, according to WRI, which compiles competing claims on a single map and attempts to resolve conflicts by bringing everyone together for talks.

"We have lived here a long time, and we have used the forest and cultivated the land with our traditional knowledge," said Darman, who goes by one name, a resident of Gajah Bertalut.

"All around us, we have seen forest land taken for mining and for palm oil plantations that are not good for the environment or for the people. When our rights are recognised, we will preserve the forest and plan for the future," he said.

Clean and clear

Indigenous and local communities own more than half the world's land under customary rights. Yet they only have secure legal rights to 10 percent, according to advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

Governments maintain control over more than two-thirds of global forest area, much of which is claimed by local communities, RRI said in a recent report.

In Indonesia, indigenous people are estimated to have ownership rights over 40 million hectares of customary forest and other land.

The concept of "adat" or custom, has been in place since the Dutch colonial era in the country, and referred to the rules that determined who used land and resources, and how.

When the federal government took charge, it declared much of the forest land as State Forest Area, and decided who could use it. This undermined customary adat rights, and dispossessed many communities of their land, activists say.

Decentralisation in 1999 led to the granting of land concessions to investors tapping the palm oil boom, further weakening indigenous rights and their claims over land.

The 2013 ruling has "dramatically strengthened" indigenous peoples' tenure rights, said Rukka Sombolinggi of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN).

But claims can only be recognised at the federal ministry level, and not by local officials. This has led to an expensive and time consuming process, made more challenging by the requirement of clear titles, she said.

"The government's insistence on 'clean and clear' titles places an unfair burden on indigenous people, many of whom have never had formal titles," she said.

AMAN, which is also a part of the One Map programme, has submitted maps of indigenous land of about 9.65 million hectares to the government to be recognised, she said. In addition, passing a long delayed law on indigenous people will speed up the return of land, she said.

The draft law recognises their customary and collective rights over land, as well as their right to self governance.

Organic farming

Indonesia is one of only a few Asian nations, including India and the Philippines, with legal frameworks recognising communities as forest owners.

But the process is beset by delays and attempts to dilute the laws, activists say. Villagers also need support to manage their resources better and diversify land use.

In Gajah Bertalut village, where families have tapped rubber trees and cultivated forest land for generations, WRI is teaching residents organic farming to supplement their income from fishing, and conserve the soil better.

A group of young men and women is growing chilli, spinach and vegetables on about one acre of common land with training from WRI, said Elin Purnamasari, 24.

"It's only a small plot now. But when we get the community rights, perhaps more people can join and we can cultivate on more land," she said. "This can be our future."

Source: http://news.trust.org/item/20181113100411-1bjgu/

Civil service & bureaucracy

Most failed to pass CPNS in personal characteristic test

Tempo - November 13, 2018

Dias Prasongko, Jakarta – The Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry stated that the pass rate of the 2018 civil servant hopefuls (CPNS) test is at a lowly 10 percent. It is even worse in regional instances where the passing rate is below 10 percent.

Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform Ministry's Deputy of human resources apparatus, Setiawan Wangsaatmadja stated that the low passing rate is mostly because applicants mostly failed to pass the basic competence selection (SKD) minimum passing grade.

"Based on the initial data, many applicants were hampered by the personal characteristics subtest," said Setiawan in a press conference on Monday, November 12.

Setiawan argues that this is caused by several factors such as the vast selection process regions and their failure in one of the subtests. This is considering the fact that every central and regional state agencies participated in the 2018 CPNS, compared to the 2017 CPNS.

"However, the tests were, in fact, difficult since we expect to welcome the best," said Setiawan who said that the strategic plan on state civil apparatus developments is what makes the question from this year's test a little more special.

Source: http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2018/11/13/055923397/Most-Failed-to-Pass-CPNS-in-Personal-Characteristic-Test

Intolerance & sectarianism

Discarded statue turns out to be national hero, torn down over

Coconuts Jakarta - November 13, 2018

Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa was the sultan of Banten during the kingdom's golden age in the 1600s and has been recognized as one of Indonesia's national heroes for his opposition to Dutch colonialism. But when part of a statue depicting Tirtayasa's noble figure was found in Banten's Kalimalang River in Serang about two weeks ago, discarded and covered in mud, most locals didn't recognize it.

But soon after word of the statue spread, some people acknowledged that they did recognize it and had in fact seen it before. That's because it was not a relic from hundred of years ago but actually a relatively recent piece of art, one that had been erected in Serang in 1998 but was ultimately torn down over religious concerns before somehow ending up in the river.

Muflikhah, a former member of the Serang Regency Legislative Council (DPRD), confirmed to Detik that the DPRD had decided to tear down the statue in 2003 over concerns that the statue could be considered shirk (a form of idolatry that is banned in Islam).

"We did not want it to become a cult, people sometimes go on pilgrimage and perhaps it might be misinterpreted," Muflikhah said, adding that the council had only ordered the statue taken down and he did not know how it ended up in the river.

Banten artist Tubagus Ahmad Fauzi was also interviewed by Detik and told the news outlet that while the council said they were concerned with shirk, he and other local artists suspected that there were political motivations behind the statue's removal. He said that he and other members of the local art community tried to fight the removal, making the point that by the same logic they would have to take down all of the statues in the area. But ultimately their arguments were ignored by the DPRD and the statue was taken down.

The fate of the sultan's statue, which currently sits by the side of a road, is not yet clear. But its removal certainly echoes similar incidents that happened much more recently in which concerns about religious piety led to protests about indigenous Indonesian art and culture, such as protests by Islamic hardliners against Banyuwangi's Gandrung Sewu Festival and the cancellation of the traditional Javanese sedekah laut ceremony in Cental Java's Bantul regency, both of which were attacked over concerns that they could be considered polytheistic and invite the wrath of God in the form of natural disasters.

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/discarded-statue-turns-national-hero-torn-15-years-ago-idolatry-concerns/

Food & beverage industry

Getting richer, more Indonesians shift to premium rice

Jakarta Post - November 12, 2018

Jakarta – Following the consumption trend of middle-income consumers, rice producers have started to distribute more premium rice instead of medium-quality rice, a report submitted to the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) says.

The report from rice producer PT Buyung Poetra Sembada (HOKI) shows that the company's revenue increased 17.78 percent from January to September to Rp 1.06 trillion (US$72.14 million), compared to figure in the same period last year, which was at Rp 900.05 billion

The report from HOKI, which focuses on selling premium rice, also shows a 15.6 percent increase from Rp 941.3 trillion to Rp 1.09 trillion.

Agriculture expert Khudori said that rice was no longer a single commodity and was not viewed as "inferior" by middle-class consumers, which preferred to consume premium rice rather than medium-quality rice.

"In the last few years, the price trend for rice has been determined more by premium rice, not medium-quality rice. When the rice price increases, [consumers] did not shift to rice that were priced lower, instead, they reduced the volume of their purchases," Khudori said as quoted by kontan.co.id.

"The [consumer] preference has been shifting. The government policy, therefore, should also change to be more effective," he said.

The number of middle-income consumers has been growing, and is projected to grow from 40 million at present to 200 million by 2045, said National Development Planning Minister/National Development Planning Board (Bappenas) head Bambang Prodjonegoro.

A study in April 2016 that involved 1,977 respondents shows the majority of respondents ranked rice the highest among daily consumption choices. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/getting-richer-more-indonesians-shift-to-premium-rice.html

Film & television

'Hanum' vs 'Ahok': Indonesia's political and culture wars go to the

Coconuts Jakarta - November 13, 2018

Two highly anticipated local movies hit Indonesian cinemas last Friday, "Hanum & Rangga" and "A Man Called Ahok". But rather than purely be a source of entertainment, the two movies became a cause for conflict as supporters of the two films clashed online in a microcosm of Indonesia's larger political and cultural divide.

On one side, there is a "A Man Called Ahok", which tells the childhood story of former Jakarta governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama and the influence of his late father, Indra Tjahaja Purnama aka Tjoeng Kiem Nam, on his leadership. It is based on a book by social media personality and staunch President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo supporter Rudi Valinka.

On the other side there is "Hanum & Rangga", a film produced by and based on a romantic biographical novel written by Hanum Salsabiela Rais, the daughter of National Mandate Party (PAN) founder and honorary chairman Amien Rais, who has been a staunch critic of Jokowi's government and is one of presidential challenger Prabowo Subianto's most influential supporters. Hanum herself is a cadre for PAN, a party that makes up the current opposition coalition against Jokowi's government.

These two films were never likely to have much of a crossover audience thanks to their political affiliations (even though neither film delves into controversial politics). Those going to see "A Man Called Ahok" would most likely be supporters of Jokowi's government due to their very close political relationship, while those who oppose Ahok and Jokowi would obviously prefer "Hanum & Rangga" due to its affiliation with Amien Rais, who was a major supporter of mass protests against then-Governor Ahok for his accusation of blasphemy against Islam – for which he was controversially sentenced to two years in prison and lost his bid for reelection in 2017.

But people on both sides of the divide decided to make the popularity of the two films into a (fairly flawed) gauge of the strength of their two political factions, leading to a social media "war" – not over which film was better, but over which had sold more tickets.

In one viral tweet, one user compared the seats availability in cinemas showing both films, erroneously claiming that Hanum had sold more tickets because the seats that were taken in an online ticket booking system were highlighted in red, when the opposite is actually true.

Jumlah penonton (warna Hijau) beda jauh gitu ??. Bahkan ada yg kosong melompong ???? pic.twitter.com/nAiYuNW9L8 – Doni Hendarto (@Donihendarto) November 9, 2018

That tweet became fodder for many to ridicule those who watched Hanum (and by extension, were part of the opposition).

Ambil satu pak, siapa tau gak punya. pic.twitter.com/gwR0GlbWIG – Fuji (@fantasticfuji) November 10, 2018

Take one sir, in case you don't have one

Netizen koq usil ya. Yg nonton film Hanum dan Rangga itu sebenarnya full. Tp koq kursinya ijo semua? Ya krn yg nonton ga duduk di kursi,tp gelantungan. – Ical Zain (@ical_arz3) November 10, 2018

Netizens are so silly. Screenings of Hanum & Rangga are actually full. But why are the seats green? That's because those who watch it don't sit down, they hang down from the ceiling (a common slang used as a slur against supporters of the opposition is "kampret", meaning bat.)

It seems like Hanum really could have used some good PR to boost sales, but those involved in the film's production didn't do much to help their cause. In an Instagram comment, Hanum herself made a baseless accusation that those behind Ahok have been hoarding cinema tickets so it could appear like they sold out screenings, as captured here:

Beginilah kalau biasa bikin hoax ia samakan kita2 sama kelakuannya..Beginilah kalau polisi lemah tidak memproses hoax yang ia lakukan sehingga tambah sewenang2 bikin fitnah..film nya gak laku kok nuduh orang lain..disgusting dentist!!!! pic.twitter.com/wzjcyiDHUN – Ezki Suyanto (@ezkisuyanto) November 10, 2018

"Why would we do that, we don't have the funds and we don't see the need to lie to ourselves."

Adding to that, a circular addressed to members of PAN made the rounds online last week. The circular, signed November 2, instructed them to attend screening parties for Hanum & Rangga. While PAN is, of course, entitled to hold screening parties for Hanum's film, netizens couldn't resist pointing out the irony of the mandatory movie watching, with comedian Ernest Prakasa's now-viral tweet comparing it to the New Order era under President Soeharto – a regime Amien Rais himself fought hard to topple.

Berasa jaman Orde Baru ye? https://t.co/87gxQuyBXm – Ernest Prakasa (@ernestprakasa) November 11, 2018

Feels like the New Order era, right?

PAN Vice Chairman Viva Yoga Mauladi confirmed on Monday that the circular is real and that it was issued due to requests from the party's members to boost the film's popularity.

In addition, Hanum and Rangga also sent a letter to the dean of her alma mater, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta (UMS), asking the university to promote the film to students and staff. The letter was posted on the university's Facebook page, but it was later taken down after netizens started to mock Hanum for what looked like a desperate attempt to get people to watch her movie.

Some netizen also politicized their movie preferences by saying they would boycott Hanum's film because of her involvement in the infamous Ratna Sarumpaet conspiracy – particularly a viral video in which Hanum tearily defended Ratna before the former campaigner for presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto was found to have lied about being assaulted.

Sebagai pecinta film Indonesia, sebenarnya saya tertarik untuk menyaksikan film Hanum. Tapi mengingat jahatnya dia terlibat dalam konspirasi Ratna Sarumpaet, saya rasanya tidak mungkin bersedia mengeluarkan uang untuk menonton film itu – Aku datang,Kawan! (@e_Dans_dst) November 11, 2018

So which film actually won?

Despite all of the efforts to boost its ticket sales, Hanum managed to sell less than half as many tickets of Ahok. As of Monday, Hanum reportedly has been seen by 201,378 viewers compared to 587,747 for Ahok.

Terima kasih! Sudah 201.378 orang diyakinkan #CintaHanumDanRangga. Apakah kamu salah satunya? ??? Bagi yang belum nonton, #HanumDanRangga: #FaithAndTheCity sedang tayang di sederet bioskop Indonesia! pic.twitter.com/qHTha6uOgE – Hanum & Rangga: Faith and the City (@FilmHanumRangga) November 12, 2018

Terima kasih untuk antusiasme semua yang telah menonton film A Man Called Ahok. Jangan lupa untuk ajak teman-teman lain ke bioskop karena A Man Called Ahok masih tayang di bioskop seluruh Indonesia! #AManCalledAhok #filmAhok pic.twitter.com/8bXiCEsoyW – A Man Called Ahok (@TutaFilms) November 12, 2018

But of course, the ticket sales for these films don't necessarily have any direct correlation with the number of people who either support or oppose Jokowi's government. To us, the real losers are the average Indonesian cinema goers who just want to see a local movie without having to get caught up in real-life drama and debates. If more Indonesian films get caught up in identity politics as a marketing tool, then how many of us will just say screw it and go watch whatever big Hollywood blockbuster is playing yet again?

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/hanum-vs-ahok-indonesias-political-culture-wars-go-cinema/

'A Man Called Ahok' director refuses to glorify Ahok

Jakarta Post - November 8, 2018

Keshie Hernitaningtyas, Jakarta – Published on Sept. 6 by production company The United Team of Art, the official teaser trailer for A Man Called Ahok has been viewed more than 1.34 million times and liked by more than 5,200 users on YouTube by Monday morning.

In most of the comments left on the video, users shared how they missed the former Jakarta governor, Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, and felt goose bumps or even shed tears when watching the teaser.

"This is a drama, meaning it was designed for the audience to cry," said the film's director, Putrama Tuta, affectionally known as Tuta, during a recent interview at the offices of The Jakarta Post.

Adapted from the best-selling novel of the same title by Rudi Valinka, A Man Called Ahok focuses on the role of Ahok's family in shaping his character since he was little.

"When I took this project, I had one requirement, which was that we don't glorify Ahok. I also refused to tell the part of Ahok being in Jakarta, [since] I think it's no use; everyone already knows that story. Those who want to know what happened can read about it on media outlets or watch YouTube. I only want to share Ahok's story from the point of view that people do not know – how his character was built, Ahok's background. These are the important things we must know and convey to future generations," said Tuta.

To accurately develop the story, the team conducted fact-checking research and interviews with Ahok's family members and everyone related to him. "To research the story, I myself stayed at Pak Ahok's house in Belitung for a few months, ate his mother's dishes. I went [to Belitung] several times; I visited everyone mentioned and not mentioned in the book to explore their characters' background," Tuta shared.

Tuta said Ahok had provided some input for the script himself. "'My father did not behave this way when he was angry' or 'my mother never got mad like this', he told me when he read the script. Hence, we made adjustments accordingly."

Ahok was still the governor of Jakarta when the project started in early February last year. His term was supposed to end in October that same year, however, he was found guilty of blasphemy by the North Jakarta District Court for suggesting that some people had abused a Quranic verse to block his re-election bid. In early May 2017, the court sentenced him to two years in prison.

"Since the premise is how a little boy became a man, the story of this film is not affected by whether Pak Ahok is a governor or not. I'm glad I didn't touch that story," said the 35-year-old director of Catatan Harian Si Boy (Boy's Daily Diary).

Filming started in March 2018 and took 34 days, 98 percent was shot in Belitung, said Tuta. "We rebuilt [Ahok's family's] 1976 house, since it doesn't exist anymore. There are plans to turn the house into a museum."

He added that the team had cast actor and TV host Daniel Mananta for the main role in November 2017.

"The most fun part for me was shaping Daniel to become Ahok. There were many [actors] who wanted to play Ahok, however no one delivered the same enthusiasm as Daniel. I could really feel that he really wanted this role. What else can you expect from an actor? He will give you his best," said Tuta, adding that one of Daniel's biggest challenges for this role was to break with his natural voice.

"Our biggest responsibility as directors is to make the actors believable. If Daniel is not believable, I'm done. Once one of our producers brought a married couple to watch our teaser. When the husband got out, he told me that he was initially grudging about Daniel portraying Ahok. However, after seeing the trailer, he said he couldn't think of anyone else to play the part."

Set to be released in Indonesian cinemas on Nov. 8, Tuta said he never fussed over how people might respond to the movie about the rather controversial figure.

"I don't care; I just want to make a good movie that doesn't glorify Ahok, that does not try to clear any facts and that tells things people don't know. If the movie is good, it will speak for itself."

However, Tuta was flattered by the response of Ahok's family members, who have watched the film. "They all cried, and his mother said, 'boleh, boleh [go ahead]'. That's enough for me."

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2018/10/08/a-man-called-ahok-director-refuses-to-glorify-ahok.html

Foreign affairs & trade

Jokowi ratifies seven trade agreements

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Rachmadea Aisyah and Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has ratified seven bilateral and multilateral trade agreements by signing a presidential regulation in a bid to boost trade, according to a senior trade official.

Trade Ministry secretary-general Karyanto Suprih confirmed on Tuesday that he had been informed about the ratification.

"This morning, I heard that the President had signed a presidential regulation regarding the ratification of the deals [...] The only thing left to do is to forward the regulation to the Law and Human Rights Ministry to have it promulgated," Karyanto said at a press gathering on Tuesday.

The news about the ratification broke out less than a week after a group of Cabinet ministers agreed to accelerate the aforementioned agreements in a meeting led by Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution.

The ratified agreements, which include free trade agreements (FTAs), are the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA), ASEAN-India FTA (AITISA), ASEAN-Korea FTA, ASEAN-China FTA, ASEAN agreement on medical device directive, the ninth protocol of the ASEAN framework agreement on services and the Indonesia-Pakistan preferential trade agreement (IP-PTA).

Karyanto reaffirmed that the President's move was in accordance with Article 84 of Law No. 7/2014 on international trade agreements, which stipulates that the executive is authorized to ratify an agreement if the House of Representatives as the legislative body fails to make a decision within 60 working days after the agreements are signed.

All of the aforementioned agreements have surpassed the 60-day period. Since 2015, several pacts, such as the first protocol to amend the AANZFTA and agreement on trade in services under the AITISA, have been proposed by the government to the House to be ratified into law.

Jokowi, who is seeking reelection next year, appears to show a pro-international trade stance, which he implied in his speech during the plenary session of the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group in October of the importance of stronger global cooperation against rising protectionism.

However, at the same time, Jokowi has on many occasions called for the safeguarding of domestic interests, such as by nationalizing oil and gas assets and acquiring the majority ownership of the Grasberg mine from United States company Freeport-McMoRan.

The cost of not ratifying the seven agreements was high, according to the government. For example, not ratifying the latest protocol of the IP-PTA would have automatically terminated the agreement, closing access to the US$1.46 billion crude palm oil (CPO) market in Pakistan at a time when neighboring CPO producer Malaysia is seeking to upgrade bilateral trade ties with Pakistan.

Meanwhile, not ratifying the latest protocol of the AANZFTA will mean that Indonesian products exported to Australia or New Zealand will not benefit from preferential tariffs under the pact, effectively putting a barrier up to exported goods worth $1.76 billion.

When The Jakarta Post requested comment, Presidential spokesperson Johan Budi said in a text message that he would check on the information.

Responding to the news, Indonesian Employers Association chairman Hariyadi Sukamdani said the business community welcomed the ratification as it would bring them opportunities to balance out trade transactions with the countries involved in the agreements.

For example, through the AANZFTA, Indonesia would be able to export consumer goods to Australia with the advantage of lowered import tariffs, with which Indonesia has been recording a trade deficit, whereas Indonesia would maintain its import of raw materials, such as salt and wheat, from Australia.

"The ratified agreements had considerably less challenges compared to the other ongoing talks, such as the Indonesia-European Union Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement," Hariyadi told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a seminar on Tuesday. "With opened markets, their import tariffs will also be lowered."

He reminded that businesses, as well as the government, should also be prepared by improving the quality of exported commodities and policies. "Do not leave our exports under prepared when the market is ready," he added.

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/14/jokowi-ratifies-seven-free-trade-agreements.html

Palm oil exports decrease further in September

Jakarta Post - November 8, 2018

Jakarta – Indonesia's palm oil exports declined by 3 percent in September to 3.2 million tons from 2.2 million tons in the previous month, the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) has said.

"The decreasing price of crude palm oil [CPO] has failed to attract countries to export more CPO because the prices of other vegetable oils like soybean, rapeseed and sun flower oil have also decreased," Gapki announced in a press statement issued on Wednesday.

The price of soybeans had also dropped to its lowest price since 2007, the association said, adding that Brazil, the largest producer of soybeans, had cut its export tax on the commodity, further pushing down the prices of vegetable oil, including CPO.

According to Gapki, the situation had sparked an increase of CPO stocks in Indonesia and Malaysia, the first and second largest CPO producing countries, respectively.

Throughout September, the export value of CPO and its derivative products, including oleochemical and biodiesel, remained stagnant at 2.99 million tons, compared to the export figure in August.

Meanwhile, the export value from January to September was recorded at 22.95 million tons, 1 percent lower than the export value in the corresponding period in 2017, which was at 23.19 million tons.

Gapki said India was the largest importing country of Indonesian CPO and its derivative products in September with a total export volume of 779,440 tons, 5 percent lower than its CPO imports in the previous month of 823,340 tons. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/08/palm-oil-exports-decrease-further-in-september.html

Tourism & hospitality

'Hospitality rules need revision; business becoming more costly'

Jakarta Post - November 10, 2018

Bambang Nurbianto, Jakarta – The Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) has called on the government to deregulate the hospitality and tourism industry because existing regulations are no longer compatible with current conditions.

"Our call for deregulation is to improve competitiveness because existing regulations have made the business costly," said PHRI deputy chairman Maulana Yusran at the 2018 Hotel Week Indonesia event, which was held in Jakarta on Thursday.

He added that the hospitality and tourism industry was affected by high licensing fees, taxes, regional levies, water resource taxes and certification costs.

The industry also faced various other problems including an oversupply of rooms, digital disruption (the appearance of business competitors in the digital era), price wars and certification disputes, Maulana added.

He said many hoteliers were complaining about Government Regulation No. 55/2016 on regional tax and levy that imposed taxes for complimentary/free of charge services introduced by hotels and restaurants.

They were also not happy with Law No. 28/2009 on terms and conditions and the procedure in regional tax collection, he added.

Maulana also pointed out that the types and categorization of hospitality and restaurant businesses should be expanded because it was not compatible with current conditions.

For example, he said, there was a hotel tax, which did not apply to condotels, villas, tourist houses and homestays, etc. He also stressed the need to change the terms of restaurant tax into a more broader term. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/hospitality-rules-need-revision-business-becoming-more-costly.html

Economy & investment

Indonesia welcomes foreign capital inflows as rupiah strengthens

Jakarta Post - November 9, 2018

Marchio Irfan Gorbiano, Jakarta – Indonesia has welcomed the inflow of foreign capital to its sovereign bond and stock markets recently, positively influencing the rupiah exchange rate against the US dollar.

The central bank saw inflows of Rp 14.4 trillion (US$984.14 million) into sovereign bonds assets month-to-date in November, said Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Perry Warjiyo in Jakarta on Friday.

The figure brought year-to-date inflows into sovereign bonds at Rp 42.6 trillion. Indonesia also welcomed Rp 5.5 trillion over the same period into its stock market.

The recent inflows have helped the rupiah strengthen to below Rp 15,000 against the greenback, being traded at Rp 14,632 against the dollar on Friday according to Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate (JISDOR) data.

Perry said a number of factors, which include easing tensions between United States and China, as well as the recent establishment of the Domestic Non-Deliverable Forward (DNDF) market starting this month, had contributed to the appreciation of the rupiah.

"From our monitoring, the DNDF's [market] is growing well and it contributed to the deepening of the domestic foreign exchange market," said Perry.

Meanwhile, DNDF transaction volume was recorded at $115 million since its establishment on Nov. 1.

Perry emphasized that the current rupiah's value was a reflection of the market mechanism, hinting that the central bank was not heavily intervening the market through its dual intervention policy in the secondary bond and monetary markets. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/indonesia-welcomes-foreign-capital-inflows-as-rupiah-strengthens.html

Taxation & state budget

Tax income reaches 71% of full-year target in first 10 months

Jakarta Post - November 9, 2018

Jakarta – Tax revenue collected from January to October amounts to 1.02 quadrillion (US$69.21 billion), which is 71.32 percent of the full-year target.

"[The amount collected] is small compared to the potential [revenue], if we look at the ratio, which is lower than 15 percent," Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said on Friday, as reported by kontan.co.id.

However, the figure was 17.41 percent higher than the tax revenue in the corresponding period of last year, which was recorded at 856.08 trillion.

Tax Office data show that income tax excluding the oil and gas sector contributed Rp 539.20 trillion to the total, value added tax (PPN) and value added tax for luxury goods (PPnBM) contributed a further Rp 404.54 trillion, land property tax (PBB) contributed Rp 17.88 trillion and income tax from the oil and gas sector (PPh migas) added Rp 54.04 trillion.

Meanwhile, the ministry's director general of taxation, Robert Pakpahan, expressed optimism that his office could collect 95 percent of the total tax collection target by the end of 2018. "Ninety-five percent of the state budget target [would be] Rp 1.35 quadrillion," he said.

The Tax Office's tax collection target for this year is Rp 1.42 quadrillion.

However, he said his office would not take any additional measures to achieve the 95 percent of the target. "No, we will not make any [additional] push. Just let it be. We also have no targets for specific sectors," he said, adding that the major tax contributors were trade, finance and mining. (bbn)

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/09/tax-income-reaches-71-of-full-year-target-in-first-nine-months.html

Analysis & opinion

The making of a man, the unmaking of a nation

Jakarta Post - November 14, 2018

Julia Suryakusuma, Jakarta – After comedies, ghost horror films are the genre most liked by Indonesians, with 44 percent saying they enjoy them. Apparently they produce a thrill, stimulate the imagination, invite curiosity and induce anticipation that the protagonist will prevail over evil forces.

Personally, I'm not a fan of such movies but I found myself looking forward to Nov. 8, when a "ghost" movie was to be screened in theatres all over Indonesia. How come? That's because the film was "A Man Called Ahok" – yup, about Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama, former governor of Jakarta, currently jailed on blasphemy charges. I thought he was one of the best governors Jakarta has had, indeed, one of Indonesia's best leaders, someone who wasn't afraid to shake up the status quo.

It was a "ghost" movie in that it contained an apparition of Ahok, which embodied not just his spirit, but also the spirit of values that Indonesia seems to have forgotten, values needed to build a nation.

Controversy never seems to be far away from Ahok, from the no-nonsense way he ran his office, his zero tolerance for bad management, laziness and corruption, his unpopular policies (notably the eviction of squatters from slums), his fiery temper and tough talk (which enraptured and excited, agitated and outraged at the same time), his blasphemy trial and subsequent imprisonment, his divorce from Veronica Tan, his wife of 21 years while in prison, but also his amazing achievements during the short time he was Jakarta governor: disciplining civil servants, eliminating the ubiquitous pungli (illegal levies), transparency of the city budget, responding to citizens' complaints, transforming Jakarta city transportation into one fit for a metropolitan city, cleaning up filthy polluted Jakarta rivers, beautifying and greening the city – achieving many things his predecessors were unable to do.

But you'll see none of that in the film that was far from controversial. A review of the film stated that the "biopic about one of Indonesia's most divisive, loved and hated political figures chooses to play it safe through a family friendly narrative and storytelling" ('A Man Called Ahok: Journey from childhood to prominence', The Jakarta Post, Nov. 10).

While the review provides a good summary of the film, I don't think it was at all a matter of playing it safe. The filmmakers made a very deliberate, wise and insightful choice to portray the making of a man, from his childhood origins in Bangka Belitung, which makes us understand better why he turned into the leader that he did.

The film started when Ahok was aged 10 (1976), and stopped just about the time he became regent of East Belitung (2005). Ahok was born and raised in Gantong, East Belitung. His father Kiem Nam was a tauke (Chinese businessman), owner of a tin mining company, who raised his five children with tough love, teaching them to cooperate with each other, instilling the values of hard work and ambition, not for selfish personal reasons, but to serve others.

Kiem would drive his wife to despair, as he was always giving out money to people in need, even borrowing, so he could continue helping them. He said to her that their family still had a roof over their heads, and good food to eat. Yes, that was the case, because she sold some of her gold jewelry, so that the family could continue to eat.

While their relationship was often strained, clearly Ahok was a chip off the old block. He gave up being a doctor (his father's dream) and a businessman (his own dream), to become a politician so that he could help people in a systematic way, unlike his father, not using his own money, but state funds.

The film is a biopic, true, but it's a lot more than that. It's in fact a microcosm of Indonesia, raising issues that remain relevant.

Discrimination: despite Kiem's known humanitarianism and generosity, when Ahok decided to run for office, he faced resistance because of his Chinese ethnicity. As a child, he had once asked his father, "Are we Chinese or are we Indonesian?". The father responded unequivocally, "We are Indonesians". The film shows clearly how his father instilled the love of people and nation in his son.

Bangka Belitung has one of the largest concentrations of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, who have helped the tin industry flourish. Indonesia is the second-largest producer of tin in the world, after China, this means the ethnic-Chinese have contributed to creating revenue for Indonesia.

That's not the only thing they have contributed. They have contributed to our culture (look at all those dragons, phoenix, snakes and Chinese lions motifs on batik!), food (too many to mention), much needed capital, sporting prowess and guess what? Also Islam, which was brought in by Chinese traders in the 15th century. And yet the Chinese remain reviled and have been targeted as scapegoats throughout Indonesia's history.

Poverty: There was clearly poverty depicted in the film throughout Ahok's life in Bangka Belitung. While in 2018 poverty has fallen to a historic low, the Statistics Indonesia (BPS) figures show that almost 10 percent (27 million) of Indonesians are poor. That is still a very large number.

Corruption: in the film, there was a corrupt government official who kept trying to extort money from both Kiem, and later Ahok when he was an adult running the company. So far, corruption is still the cancer that is eating up the nation. According to the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, Indonesia ranks 96th out of 175 of the least corrupt countries. Well, at least it's better than in 2007, when we ranked 143rd.

The lack of health services portrayed in the film is still the reality for many families in Indonesia, as are education facilities, still out of reach for many children.

Watching the film was a very emotional experience for me because of the injustice Ahok has had to endure. Talk about being punished for doing good! But it was emotional also because I thought of Indonesia and how the nation is currently ruled by mindless sectarianism, where religion is used to incite evil instead of fostering good, where selfish, narrow group interests prevail over the greater good.

A Man Called Ahok is a timely reminder of what it takes to build a nation. Hopefully, like a good ghost movie, the (good guys) protagonists will prevail over the evil forces currently haunting Indonesia.

[The writer is the author of Julia's Jihad.]

Source: http://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2018/11/14/the-making-of-a-man-the-unmaking-of-a-nation.html

Explainer: will the 2019 elections be fair?

Indonesia at Melbourne - November 13, 2018

Indonesia is preparing to embark on the biggest, most complex one-day election in the world. The size and complexity of these elections means unfairness is an ever-present threat in all aspects of the process.

For the first time, legislative and presidential elections will be held on the same day: 17 April 2019. The numbers are staggering. About 187.1 million voters (comprised of 185.1 domestic and 2 million overseas voters) are eligible to cast their vote in one of 805,062 polling centres. In total, 20,538 seats are being contested by 300,000 candidates.

The most prominent sources of unfairness relate to voter rights to information, as well as the right to participate and be elected. The following runs through some of the most pressing concerns for the 2019 election.

Access to information

On the same day, at the same time, at the same polling centre, each voter will cast votes for public officials at five levels of political office: 1) president and vice president; 2) a member of the People's Representative Council (DPR); 3) a member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD); 4) a member of the Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD Provinsi); and 5) a member of the City/District Legislative Council (DPRD Kota/Kabupaten). For this reason, the election has been dubbed the "five boxes" election.

Given the size and complexity of the process, voters face considerable difficulty in obtaining clear and sufficient information about the elections, candidates, regulations and consequences of not participating.

Information regarding the profiles and backgrounds of candidates is limited. Voters must identify about 250-450 candidates in the electoral district where they will vote. Many candidates are not willing to publish detailed biographies on the official General Elections Commission (KPU) website. How can voters be expected to be cast their vote deliberately and rationally?

Voter eligibility

A second major concern relates to voter eligibility. Law 7 of 2017 on Elections (sometimes called the omnibus elections law) defines a voter as any eligible citizen who has reached the age of 17 or has married and holds an electronic identification card (e-KTP). Notably, only e-KTP holders can be registered on the electoral roll.

This stipulation may exclude many citizens from the election. In Papua, for example, less than 50 per cent of eligible voters have an e-KTP. It is estimated that more than 1.5 million eligible citizens will not be able to vote simply because they don't have an e-KTP.

Voters in correctional institutions, social housing, conflict areas, agricultural plantations and mining sites, the urban poor who do not possess legal land tenure certificates, and indigenous and traditional belief communities also face the possibility of being denied their voting rights because of the e-KTP requirement.

A report published by the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago (AMAN) states that about 1.6 million indigenous people may not be able to vote in 2019 because they don't hold e-KTPs.

The e-KTP requirement was introduced to prevent voter fraud, for example, people voting multiple times, or "ghost voters". The proposal was encouraged by the government and major parties in the DPR (Golkar, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), and the Democratic Party) during deliberations on the 2017 Election Law.

The Ministry of Home Affairs promised to complete the e-KTP roll-out by December 2018. Whether it will meet this target is another question. It once pledged to complete the project by December 2012 but the massive corruption that eventually put DPR Chair Setya Novanto in prison saw this deadline extended.

Presidential threshold

The 2017 Election Law also disadvantages the four parties that are participating in legislative elections for the first time: the Change Indonesia Movement Party (Garuda), the Working Party (Berkarya), the Indonesian Unity Party (Perindo) and Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI).

Under the Law, political parties must have secured a minimum 20 per cent of seats or 25 per cent of valid votes during the last national legislative election in 2014.

This means new parties have no right to nominate a presidential or vice presidential candidate. They can only participate as supporting parties and their party logos will not be displayed on the ballot paper like other parties.

The introduction of the presidential nomination threshold was intended to simplify the election process, but it has also led to several negative impacts.

Political recruitment has become more elitist. Presidential candidates are selected based on horse-trading and pragmatic calculations about meeting the threshold rather than their ideas or programmatic proposals. This disadvantages younger and female candidates in particular.

Some observers in Indonesia believe that political polarisation has become pronounced over the past two elections because there have only been two presidential candidates. The country has seen a rapid escalation in the use of hoaxes, fake news, and disinformation – much of it spread by the passionate supporters of the two opposing candidates.

Women candidates

Since the 2004 legislative elections, parties have been required to field at least 30 per cent female candidates and distribute them evenly on the ballot paper to participate in an electoral district. Some 40 per cent of candidates in the 2019 legislative elections are women.

Although Indonesia uses an "open-list" system, meaning voters can rank candidates from a party according to their own preference rather than simply selecting the party, the majority of winners in DPR and DPRD elections (80 per cent) are from position 1 or 2. Most female candidates, meanwhile, are typically nominated in positions 3 or 6.

This might explain why the proportion of women in the DPR following the 2009 and 2014 elections was only 18 per cent, despite the 30 per cent requirement for candidates.

Campaign financing

Money plays a major role in Indonesia's elections. There is very weak transparency and accountability of campaign financing. Oversight is poor and enforcement of existing regulations is weak.

Despite these problems, the 2017 Election Law dramatically increases the upper limit for campaign donations. The upper limit for individual donations has increased from Rp 1 billion to Rp 2.5 billion and for organisations from Rp 7.5 billion to Rp 25 billion. There is no limit on cash donations.

Source: http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/explainer-will-the-2019-elections-be-fair/

Indonesia: Bela Negara action plan and pandering to the military

The Interpreter - November 13, 2018

Luke Lischin – Between Prabowo Subianto's promise to "Make Indonesia Great Again" and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's warning that "winter is coming", all eyes in Indonesia are transfixed on the upcoming presidential election.

Yet beyond the campaign trail, Jokowi's pandering to the Indonesian armed forces has had a profound impact on Indonesia's civil-military relations. On 18 September 2018, Jokowi issued Presidential Instruction Number 7 (Inpres 7), the "Bela Negara National Action Plan".

According to Defense Minister General (Ret.) Ryamizard Ryacudu, Bela Negara is intended to strengthen citizens' patriotism while protecting Indonesia from harmful ideologies through policy, and Inpres 7 is "a bid to make Bela Negara (State Defence) program more systematic, structured, standardised, and massive".

Inpres 7 is a major concession to the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) and the national security establishment, which has been clawing its way back into politics through participation in national food security, infrastructure construction, public safety, and disaster relief efforts.

Bela Negara became policy in October 2015 through the 2015 Defence White Paper, initially aiming to mobilise 4,500 "national defence cadres" comprised of civilian volunteers. Defense Minister Ryacudu was Indonesia's most prolific public advocate for Bela Negara and helped elevate the program to the level of the National Resilience Council or Dewan Ketahanan Nasional (Wantannas), which is now given the job to implement the three-step Action Plan under Inpres 7.

According to Inpres 7, the first step of implementation is the "dissemination, harmonisation, synchronisation, coordination, and evaluation" of Bela Negara, which is broken down into twelve actions and bulleted standards of evaluation.

These actions include the creation of instructional modules for Bela Negara programs, organising national consultation meetings and conferences, designing curricula, forming coordination and evaluation bodies, and planning multi-tiered cadre training programs.

The second step is the "internalisation of Bela Negara's Basic Values" through eight actions intended to internalise Bela Negara's values among civil servants, military personnel, police officers, and the general public.

Success at this stage is defined by the implementation of curricula that inculcate an adequate understanding of the urgency of Bela Negara, and feelings of love of country, loyalty to Indonesia's national philosophy Pancasila, and a willingness to sacrifice for the nation.

The third step is the "Action" movement, which is subdivided into non-military and military threats.

Non-military threats fall into the fields of demography, geography, environment, ideology, politics, economy, socio-cultural affairs, and technology.

Within these fields are threats such as unchecked population growth, public health, natural disasters, agrarian conflict and resource exploitation, energy scarcity, and ideologies contrary to Pancasila (i.e. terrorism, radicalism, separatism, and communism).

The section of military threats is limited to specific military threats such as horizontal conflicts, violations of territorial sovereignty, and the potential threat of foreign invasion/foreign aggression.

This illustrates how Inpres 7 is sprawling in its scope of issues it seeks to address, and shallow in its delegation of authority.

Although Inpres 7 does highlight some specific policy initiatives like reviving family planning initiatives to prevent demographic disparities, the vague and repetitive language of the document does more to obfuscate national priorities than clarify them. The only clear message of Inpres 7 is that Bela Negara is the key to Indonesia's survival and prosperity and that the TNI holds this key.

While the TNI plays a leading role in in the action plan, regional governments and political parties also play their part.

From 15 to 19 October, 55 high school students led by their school principal in Magelang, Central Java completed Bela Negara training at a local military academy.

Meanwhile in Purbalingga, also in Central Java, 540 youth, including the children of local representatives, completed Bela Negara instruction under the auspices of the regional government from 15 to 27 October. Similar training is being organised across the nation in Cikajang, Gowa, Denpasar, Palangka Raya, and elsewhere.

Even though Inpres 7 came and went without much public discussion, the implementation of the Bela Negara Action Plan will be sure to provoke debate in light of previous Bela Negara scandals. Among the most infamous scandals was the January 2017 discovery that TNI officers were providing military training for members of the "anti-vice" vigilante group Fron Pembela Islam (FPI) in Lebak, Banten.

Bela Negara programming is also controversially promoted as an antidote to "deviant" ideologies including LGBT lifestyles and communism; the Bela Negara action plan labels communism as a threat to the nation, while LGBT lifestyles are not mentioned by that acronym, but plausibly fall under the anti-Pancasila ideology of "hedonism".

Jokowi's embrace of nationalist rhetoric, choice of his conservative ulama running mate Maruf Amin, or "accidental" authoritarian politics may not reflect the president's personal politics so much as a hedging strategy for the upcoming election.

Nevertheless, Jokowi has proven not to be the liberal reformer many had hoped for, allowing hard-earned reforms in democratic governance to backslide under his watch. By inviting the national security bureaucracy to play a more active role in government outside the normal role of the military in other countries, Jokowi is trading the norm of civilian-led governance in exchange for the survival of his administration.

Source: https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/indonesia-bela-negara-action-plan-and-pandering-military

Identity politics looms over Indonesia's presidential election

East Asia Forum - November 10, 2018

Deasy Simandjuntak – The 2019 Indonesian presidential election will be a two-horse race between the current President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo and his 2014 contender, former general Prabowo Subianto.

Amid speculations that the 2019 election will be more about the economy than identity politics, the Islamic rallies in several Indonesian cities over the past few weeks show that the prospect of religious campaigning and sectarian mobilisation is still lurking.

These rallies, dubbed 'Defending the Tauhid Action' were organised by the National Movement to Safeguard Fatwas (GNPF). They were triggered by an incident in October 2018, where members of the youth wing of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Indonesia's largest Islamic organisation and a supporter of Jokowi, burnt a flag bearing the Islamic declaration of faith. During the rallies to protest the flag's burning, there were calls of 'ganti presiden' (change the president) as some protesters attempted to connect the rallies to the election campaign.

Both presidential candidates take the prospect of identity politics featuring in the campaign very seriously. Jokowi has appointed the conservative and senior Islamic scholar Ma'ruf Amin as his vice-presidential candidate. And in mid-September 2018 Prabowo signed a pact with conservative Islamic scholars and Muslim activists at a congregation of the GNPF, the organiser of the recent rallies.

With Amin on the ticket, Jokowi has a strong tool to mobilise identity politics should he choose to do so. Until recently, Amin was both the rais 'aam (supreme leader) of the NU, a champion of moderate Islam, and chairman of the more conservative-leaning Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

Amin was behind the 2005 fatwa against Indonesia's Ahmadiyah Muslim minority group and was key expert witness in a trial that sent Jakarta's former Chinese-Christian governor Basuki 'Ahok' Tjahaja Purnama – then Jokowi's closest ally – to jail for blasphemy in 2017. The blasphemy fatwa became the raison d'etre for the GNPF and consolidated a massive Islamist mobilisation against Ahok. This mobilisation – supported by Prabowo's camp, which championed Ahok's opponent Anies Baswedan in the April 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial election – marked the culmination of identity politics in Indonesia's post-reform era.

It is clear that the President hopes that Amin's nomination will shield him from the likelihood of Prabowo's camp launching a sectarian campaign against him and prevent conservative voters from overwhelmingly siding with Prabowo.

Rather than actively mobilising religious sentiments, Amin's first moves as vice-presidential candidate have been geared at limiting the other camp's opportunities for a sectarian campaign. Despite being urged to resign from both the NU and the MUI, Amin only resigned from the NU and did not give up his MUI chairmanship.

This is likely because the NU (save for those in the organisation's conservative 'NU true path' or garis lurus faction) is already relatively solid in its support for Jokowi. The MUI is more nuanced in its political stance, with some leaders initially being involved in the GNPF and connected to parties that support Prabowo. Amin's decision to retain his MUI chairmanship could be aimed at curbing the Council from leaning towards Prabowo's side.

Amin is also pushing for the Islamic concept of wasatiyyah (middle way), which in Indonesia refers to the practice of moderate Islam. NU's doctrine of Islam Nusantara – the application of Islam within Indonesia's socio-cultural context – upholds similar moderate values. But Islam Nusantara's branding as a predominantly NU doctrine might make it unattractive to non-NU members. The wasatiyyah is deemed more accommodative to Indonesian Muslims from various traditions.

Amin will focus his campaign in regions where Jokowi lost in 2014. These include the religiously homogenous Aceh, West Sumatra and West Java, which are known to be Prabowo's strongholds.

In West Java's 2018 gubernatorial election, the less popular candidate backed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) almost won due to religiously charged campaigning. North Sumatra's 2018 gubernatorial election was also dominated by identity politics and won by candidates supported by PKS and Gerindra. Jokowi's camp hopes that Amin will be able to attract religious voters in these provinces.

The recent rallies show that despite Amin's nomination, Jokowi is still susceptible to 'attacks' by Islamic groups that have pledged allegiance to his opponent, such as the GNPF. The friction between the opposing groups, when aggravated, could potentially lead to a bitter sectarian campaign next year.

Another important question is whether partnering with a progressive president will alter Amin's ideological standpoint beyond the campaign season. Despite Amin's efforts to accentuate moderatism – for instance by visiting churches while campaigning in North Sumatra – there are concerns that Amin's negative stance on Muslim minorities like the Ahmadiyah and Shia remain unchanged.

Recent cases such as the blasphemy charges against a woman who complained about the volume of the loudspeakers at a mosque and the forced closure of churches by hard-line groups continue to challenge the country's commitment to religious tolerance. Whether Amin will really try to do something about Indonesia's long-standing issue of religious discrimination is something to keep an eye on as the campaign heats up.

[Deasy Simandjuntak is an Associate Fellow in the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Program at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.]

Source: http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/11/10/identity-politics-looms-over-indonesias-presidential-election/

'Why Indonesia desperately needs a new bill to curb the rise of sexual

Coconuts Jakarta - November 8, 2018

Jack Britton – Indonesia is currently in the midst of a sexual violence crisis. As noted by Komnas Perempuan (National Commission on Violence Against Women), the instances of violence against women continues to rise from year to year.

In 2015 the total reported cases of violence against women reached an all-time high of 321,712 with a large percentage of those cases constituting sexual violence.

Indonesia is by no means a homogenous country and the forms of violence against women that plagues its society are as diverse as the broad archipelago itself. From canings carried out by Sharia police in the Western-most province of Aceh to violence suffered at the hands of the armed forces in Papua, the types of violence faced by the women of Indonesia are numerous and widespread.

A culture of sexual violence is pervasive across Indonesia and its institutions. Virginity testing for female recruits is still practiced by the armed forces and police and female circumcision remains a norm amongst various cultural groups.

Child marriage is widespread and polygamous marriages continue to violate women's rights. Sexual assault and rape is a daily occurrence with victims facing stigmatization, criminalization and a lack of access to justice. It is clear that major changes need to occur.

A potential catalyst for the beginnings of this change is the Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill, currently waiting to be discussed in the People's Representative Council (DPR).

The Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill, which entered into the National Legislation Program of 2016 has been drafted in cooperation with Komnas Perempuan along with the Service Provider Forum (FPL).

In simple terms the Bill clearly defines the different forms of sexual violence and sets out the responsibilities of the State in dealing with cases of sexual violence. The Bill provides for the protection of victims and witnesses, increased access to justice, recovery and reparation mechanisms for the victim and rehabilitation of the offender.

On October 14, Komnas Perempuan hosted a public consultation regarding the Bill. The audience heard from an array of speakers about the shortcomings of the current law in protecting victims of sexual violence and their hopes for a new, comprehensive law.

Speakers included staff of Komnas Perempuan, counsellors specializing in sexual violence, human rights lawyers, Islamic scholars and an inspiring survivor of the 1965 killings.

Two female members of the DPR, Rahayu Saraswati from the Gerinda Party and Amy Amalin from the National Mandate Party (PAN) were also in attendance, lending their full support to the bill and voicing their commitment to be at the forefront of pushing for its ratification in the DPR.

The ratification of the Bill would act to update the current archaic laws on sexual violence (which were drafted over 100 years ago in colonial times) and bring about more comprehensive legal protections and recovery mechanisms for victims.

Under current Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP), broadly speaking, there are only two forms of sexual violence that are recognized, namely rape and molestation. The crime of rape in the KUHP as it stands is extremely narrowly defined and limited to vaginal intercourse. This does not reflect current internationally accepted definitions and acts to deny thousands of rape victims their rights of access to justice.

The new Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill is much broader in its scope and includes nine distinct forms of sexual violence. The forms include: sexual assault, sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, sexual torture and a more comprehensive definition of rape.

Sentencing options have also been broadened to include provisions for the reformation and rehabilitation of the offender. Community service, removal of the right to practice a profession and removal of office for public officials are also stated sentencing options that will operate alongside traditional punishments.

In terms of protection of children, for cases of sexual violence that occur in the domestic setting there is a provision to terminate parental rights that will help to keep children safe from chronic abuse.

The progressive new Bill clearly defines the State's responsibilities in handling cases of sexual violence. It will act to give the victim greater access to and certainty of justice and freedom from stigmatization and criminalization through the legal process.

The Elimination of Sexual Violence Bill is only one step out of many that needs to be taken in order to combat the current sexual violence crisis confronting Indonesia. However, the Bill is a carefully designed, solid and comprehensive piece of proposed legislation. Its ratification will act to demonstrate to the Indonesian public the government's sincerity and dedication to upholding human rights and eradicating sexual violence.

[The author is a current volunteer with Komnas Perempuan in Jakarta. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Komnas Perempuan.]

Source: https://coconuts.co/jakarta/features/why-indonesia-desperately-needs-new-bill-curb-rise-sexual-violence

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